Serena Williams
Serena Williams will return unseeded for her first Grand Slam in 16 months. Pictured: Serena Williams returns a shot against Naomi Osaka of Japan during Day 3 of the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 19, 2018, in Key Biscayne, Florida. Al Bello/Getty Images

Serena Williams will make her return to action at the French Open but her task will be even greater as event organizers revealed she will not receive a seeding.

Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam when she emerged victorious at the Australian Open last year and became the women's world No. 1 in the process.

However, she took time off from the sport soon after due to maternity leave and as a result of her absence, fell down the rankings. She was given a protected No. 1 ranking that allowed her to enter tournaments upon her return in March, but was unseeded, unless organizers made the decision, meaning the chances of her playing a higher-ranked opponent early on were greater.

As the debate over maternity leave in tennis continues with calls for female players to be protected, Williams will have to continue to make do with being unseeded at Roland Garros as she takes part in her first Grand Slam in 16 months.

"This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking,'' the French Tennis Federation said in a statement Monday, as quoted on ESPN. "Consequently, [the seeds] will reflect this week's world ranking.''

The Women's Tennis Association is considering a rule change that would allow players like Williams, currently ranked 453, to be seeded as they return from maternity leave but a change would only take effect from next year.

Many of the American's tennis rivals have shown support of a rule change amid the debate as they believe Williams deserves to be seeded.

"I would like to see that [rule] change,'' Maria Sharapova said last week at the Rome Masters. "It's such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from physically, emotionally. ... There's just another whole dimension to the travel, to the experiences, to the emotions to the physicality of every single day."

"Tennis is such a selfish sport, but I think when there's a child in your life you lose a little bit of that, because there's something that's so much more important. So, yeah, I definitely think that would be a nice change,'' Sharapova said.

"It's normal to give birth. It's normal to have protected ranking. ... It's more than tennis,'' world No. 1 Simona Halep added. "So the people will decide what seed she will get. But in my opinion it's good to protect the ranking when someone is giving birth.''

"If you're like finished or you stopped because you're going to have a child and you will be in top eight, I think you should have this kind of thing, to have protected seeding,'' added Elina Svitolina who retained her Rome Masters title on Sunday. "She was No. 1 so she deserves seeding.''

Meanwhile, Williams was training at Court Philippe Chatrier ahead of the French Open on Monday. The second Grand Slam of the year takes place from May 27 to June 10 with the draw being made on Thursday.