Serena Williams unseeded for French Open return

Serena Williams' return to grand slam tennis was dealt a huge blow on Monday when Roland Garros organisers announced they will not give the three-time champion a seeding.

Williams, a 23-time major singles winner, is expected to play in her first grand slam tournament since giving birth to her daughter last September.

While Williams was eligible to enter Roland Garros under the WTA's protected or "special" ranking rule, it was down to the organisers of the tournament to give her a seed, something they ultimately neglected to do.

The French Tennis Federation said in a statement that: "This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking.”

"Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's world ranking."

The decision comes despite several top-ranked players including Maria Sharapova, Elina Svitolina and world number one Simona Halep speaking out in support of giving Williams a seeding.

Williams was ranked number one when she left the WTA Tour last year after winning the 2017 Australian Open to give birth.

She is currently ranked 453.

Without being seeded, Williams is likely to come up against high-ranking players in the early rounds.

The WTA has been considering changing the rules to protect players returning from maternity leave, but the earliest any chances could come into effect is next year.