Serena aside, Sharapova will fear no one at French: Evert

Lawrence Cooper
May 27, 2018

Ivanka Trump is speaking in defense of Serena Williams.

Paris - Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova insisted on Friday that the French Open was right not to hand Serena Williams a special seeding for the event.

Williams returned to the professional circuit in the United States six months after giving birth to her first child.

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. "But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams".

In New York previous year, her former home city before decamping to Florida, she defeated former champion Angelique Kerber in the first round.

Only Williams, unseeded and ranked 453 has a superior grand slam record to Sharapova in the women's draw.

British number two Watson has reached the second round on five occasions - without progressing any further - and comes into the tournament having ended a dismal run of eight straight defeats with a win in Lyon this week.

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Former world No 1 Williams, a three-time champion in Paris, is playing a Grand Slam for the first time since winning the Australian Open in 2017. Secondly, she's been drawn in top seed Halep's first quarter.

But star of the clay-court season Kvitova is in sparkling form, should be well-rested after skipping Rome and has a very favourable draw - she's who I'll lump for (though, as always with the WTA draws, with little confidence)!

It was up to the organisers to hand a seeding to Serena who was on maternity leave, but they chose not to.

Adding yet another dimension to the comeback story, Serena and Venus Williams were awarded a wild card into the Roland Garros doubles draw, joining an already sparkling list of all-star entries. She will open against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic. It's a great thing that she's here, that she's still here in the world of tennis.

Last year's champion Jelena Ostapenko, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki and 2016 French Open victor Garbine Muguruza are all amongst the list of favourites.

"She knows she can win it and she knows she is mentally tougher than a lot of them". "Well, I think you see it more and more now that you have some of the women come back after pregnancy and wanting to play and obviously playing at a high level".

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