During the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Simona Halep and her coach, Darren Cahill had mentioned that Serena Williams should have been seeded in her comeback after her maternity break. The former world no. 1, who is unseeded this week in Miami as well, will play Naomi Osaka in the first round.
Now, the new tournament director of the Miami Open, James Blake, a former world no. 4, reiterated this aspect. 'It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave,' said Blake about his countrywoman.
The 23-time Major winner had played her last match in the 2017 Australian Open final, then gave birth her daughter Olympia in September 2017. 'The rules should help her get the benefit of an easier draw and a better path. This kind of things shouldn't happen. She has won this title so many times that she needs protection. It's not as if she left because of injury and lost her passion for the game. She had a kid, which we should all be celebrating, so when she comes back there should be a grace period where she can still be seeded.'
Blake was speaking ahead of the promotion of the Hard Rock Stadium, the new venue which will be hosting the Miami Open, starting in 2019. 'Every single aspect of this tournament will be an upgrade,' Blake added.
Serena said she was happy that the event will remain in Miami. She will open her campaign on Wednesday in the day session.