(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The French Open’s decision against giving former world number one tennis star Serena Williams a seeding has sparked anger around the world.
When Williams took time off to have a baby she was number one, but under the ruling she will return to the French competition as number 454.
Under a rule established by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), players who are out of the game due to injury or pregnancy for a minimum of six months are allowed to keep the ranking they held when they went on leave.
But the decision of whether to give that player a seed remains up to tournament organisers.
The WTA said it would consider reviewing its rules, in a move that may prevent this sort of thing from happening again.
Any tweaking of the rules would come too late for Williams this time around, but many hope it could help trigger a deeper conversation, and even prompt real change for professional female athletes.
Williams returned to the professional circuit in the United States six months after giving birth to her first child.
However, this will be her first appearance at a major since winning last year’s Australian Open.
Nicole Pratt, a former Australian pro tennis player and now head of Women’s Tennis, said seeding was a “bit of protection” for players to save them from facing off against a high seeded player early in the draw.