Serena Williams awarded seeding for Wimbledon

Serena Williams is a seven-times champion at Wimbledon

Wimbledon officials have given seven-time champion Serena Williams the No. 25 seed for its 2018 tournament, a decision that acknowledges her exemplary record on grass and, unlike last month's French Open, will not excessively penalize her for a 13-month maternity leave.

At the French Open last month, when her ranking was 451, she was not seeded and came up against 17th seed Barty in the second round, winning in three sets.

For Wimbledon, seedings generally had followed the WTA world rankings, which protects players who have been out due to injury but not those absent due to pregnancy.

By moving Williams into the top 32, the All England Club afforded her "protection" from facing any other seeded player in either of the first two rounds - and, of course, allowed the other seeds to avoid facing her that early, too.

Williams has been "seeded" in the starting lineup of the tournament, which means she has to play opening matches against lower-ranked opponents, and has a better shot at the title.

Several current and former players (men and women alike) argued that to force a top player to start at the bottom, without a seed, after having a baby punishes them, in effect, for motherhood.

Wimbledon will release the draw on Friday.

The U.S. Tennis Association says it does intend to seed Williams for the U.S. Open, which begins in August.

Slovakian world No. 32 Dominika Cibulkova was bumped from the seeding. "I don't think there would be a player that would complain, especially the top ones, if she was one of the top eight", he said. But because of an injured pectoral muscle, Williams pulled out of Roland Garros before what would have been a showdown against five-time major champion Maria Sharapova. The slide resulted from a near year-long absence triggered by a freak injury, in which she stepped on broken glass and later developed blood clots in her lungs following her 2010 Wimbledon championship. Caroline Wozniacki, John McEnroe and USTA president Katrina Adams have spoken out in support of Williams. They are followed by Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev and Juan Martin del Potro.

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