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Williams, who was ranked Number 1 in the world before her leave, has won in London seven times in the past 16 years.

Williams, a record 23-times Grand Slam champion, will be returning to the All England Club for the first time since giving birth to her daughter last September. "I don't think it's the right thing to do".

One of them, Slovakian former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, is the player most disadvantaged by the decision to seed Williams as she is WTA 32nd in the rankings and would have taken the last seeded spot.

Williams, who gave birth to her first baby in September, is now ranked No. 183.

The All England Club usually follows the women's WTA world rankings, but reserves the right to change seedings - the top 32 players in the draw. I think it's just not fair. "I don't know if something like this ever happened before".

In 2011, tournament officials seeded Williams, its defending champion, No. 7 although her ranking at the time was 26th in the world. The draw will be selected Friday, and the tournament starts Monday. 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.

In an interview with Good Morning America published on Tuesday, Serena, however, outlined her belief that the rules should be changed to reflect women's right to return to tennis as a job at the same level that they left, as in other walks of life. Competitor Caroline Wozniacki and U.S. Tennis Association President Caroline Katrina Adams were also among those who voiced support for Williams. Venus Williams is No. 9, Australia's Ashleigh Barty is No. 17, home favorite Jo Konta is No. 22 and Maria Sharapova is seeded 24th, one place ahead of Serena Williams. She missed Wimbledon in 2017, but won the title the last two times she was in the field, in 2015 and 2016. At that point, most analysts said Williams had improved at each stage but had not reclaimed her peak form.