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Blake: Serena, New Moms Should Be Protected


The Miami Open begins with a blockbuster clash between eight-time champion Serena Williams and Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka.

Miami Open tournament director James Blake doesn't believe that match should happen.

Watch: Serena, Blake Break Ground on New Facility

Blake asserts players returning from maternity leave, including Serena and Victoria Azarenka, should be granted a protected seeding upon their initial return.

The former world No. 4 believes the WTA Tour will address the situation with a rule change.

"I think they are going to start talking about changing the way some seedings are done and I hope they do," Blake told the media in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Miami Open's move to the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium home next year. "For someone who goes on maternity break, they should be protected. These kind of things shouldn't happen. She has won this title so many times that she needs protection.

"It's not as if (Serena) 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."



The 36-year-old Serena launched her comeback in Indian Wells earlier this month. As an unseeded player, the 23-time Grand Slam champion drew her sister, eighth-seeded Venus Williams, in the third round.

Azarenka, who swept the Indian Wells-Miami sunshine double in 2016, lost to US Open champion Sloane Stephens in her second match of 2018 at Indian Wells.

"It's a kind of punishment which is tough," Blake said. "I hope they revisit those talks although it will be too late for her unless she decides to have another child."

Photo credit: JamesBlakeTennis.com

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