LONDON (REUTERS) - Serena Williams will almost certainly be seeded at this year's Wimbledon tennis championships despite being snubbed by the French Open organisers, the All England Club confirmed on Tuesday (May 22).
The 36-year-old American is expected to play at Roland Garros next week, where she has won the title three times, but without being seeded she could conceivably meet reigning champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round.
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) confirmed on Tuesday that its seedings would be based on the latest WTA rankings.
Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, is world ranked a lowly 453rd having returned this year from having a baby.
She has not played a tournament since Miami in March and pulled out of the clay-court events in Madrid and Rome.
While the French Open sticks rigidly to rankings, Wimbledon's seeding committee allows itself some "wiggle room" according to an All England Club official.
Unlike the men's seedings which use the ATP rankings in conjunction with a formula based on results on grass courts, the women's seedings can be tweaked on the agreement of a committee.
"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," is the All England Club's official line on its website.
Williams has won Wimbledon six times but missed last year's tournament while she was on maternity leave.
She gave birth to daughter Alexis last September.
Despite her lowly ranking, she will be able to play at Roland Garros under the WTA's special ranking rule, which allows players returning from a long spells out to use their ranking at the start of their absence.