Ivanka Trump defends Serena Williams, slams women’s tennis for ‘ridiculous’ maternity rule

Ivanka Trump calls on women's tennis to change maternity leave rules for Serena Williams

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She subsequently came out on the wrong side of a tough three-setter against Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final at the start of 2018 but Halep insists she is in a positive frame of mind as she looks to cement her place at the top of the women's game. We saw with the WTA a year ago and all the four grand slams and the season-ending championships were won by different players.

Returning to the French Open for the first time since giving birth to a baby girl last September, Williams is now ranked No. 453 in the WTA rankings, making her road to a fourth French Open championship hard.

In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam victor at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days.

Trump joins the tennis stars Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova in speaking out against this rule. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015.

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Unlike Williams, the 28th-seeded Sharapova enters Roland-Garros approaching her best form since coming back from a 15-month long doping ban in April past year.

Without being seeded, Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam victor who has won the French Open three times, could face highly-ranked opponents in the early rounds of the tournament. After ending the United States hard court swing in March with a mediocre run of 2-2, Williams shunned the clay to work on her fitness. She gave birth to her baby girl, Alexis Olympia, last September and had a health scare right after that as well.

"Sharapova, who made a comeback of her own previous year after returning from a 15-month suspension for a positive drug test, said she believes Williams, the former No. 1, deserves a seeding". The American leads their head-to-head 19-2.

Williams and Sharapova could meet in the fourth round of the French Open thanks to Thursday's draw, though a matchup between three-time champion Williams and two-time champion Sharapova is far from guaranteed.

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Many felt Williams, who won last year's Australian Open despite being in the early stages of her pregnancy, should have been awarded a seeding, but the French Tennis Federation thought otherwise and the 36-year-old was therefore at risk of being drawn against a top-ranked opponent in the opening rounds.

Simona Halep, the world No.1 and title favourite from Romania, was drawn against American Alison Riske in her opening round, followed by a tough possible third round against Kristina Mladenovic of France, a quarter-finalist past year.

The Richmond Hill, Ont., native is seeded 24th and could play the 10-time champion and overwhelming favourite Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

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