Should world No.449 be Wimbledon top seed?
SERENA WILLIAMS could be made top seed at Wimbledon - amid talk she is being penalised for having a baby.
Since returning to tennis earlier this year after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia last September, Williams has enjoyed a protected ranking of No 1 that guarantees her entry into tournaments.
But the current world No 449 does NOT have a protected seeding, which leaves her in danger of facing a top player in the first round of events, including Wimbledon.
Now All England Club chiefs have confirmed that they could use a special section in their rules to give Williams a seeding.
An AELTC spokesperson said: "The seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, except where in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw.
"Therefore it is reasonable to state that the committee would have the discretion to seed a player for The Championships, regardless of their WTA ranking."
Williams has argued in favour of protected seedings for women players returning from pregnancy.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion told the New York Times: "I think it's more of a protection for women to have a life.
"You shouldn't have to wait to have a baby until you retire. If you want to have a baby and take a few months off or a year off and then come back, you shouldn't have to be penalized for that. Pregnancy is not an injury."
Williams, 36, has played four singles matches since returning to action, reaching the last 32 in Indian Wells before losing to older sister Venus and then falling to Japan's rising star Naomi Osaka in round one at Miami.
After Indian Wells, current world No1 Simona Halep said she believed Williams "should have been given top seed."
Wimbledon's rules for the men's singles, however, allow only for changes in the seedings according to a special weighting for a player's grass-court record - NOT to bump individuals way up the rankings.
That means that Andy Murray, who is preparing to return a long-term hip injury, could face reigning champion Roger Federer or another highly-ranked player in the first round at SW19.