'Williams draw shows rules should change' - James Blake

Williams' effort couldn't be faulted though it was Osaka who possessed the greater firepower and consistency which allowed her to dominate most of the exchanges. She has won this title so many times that she needs protection.

Serena Williams' return to tennis after becoming a mom has prompted a seedings debate, with new Miami Open tournament director James Blake saying the record 23-time grand slam victor had been "punished" for wanting to start a family.

"It's one of the ways to warm up and get my body and my mind synchronized with a certain motion that I would like to have with my serve because that's where I kind of compromise my elbow", he said.

James Blake, Miami Open tournament director, said afterwards that: "It makes sense to protect someone who goes on maternity leave".

This means she cannot be seeded for Women's Tennis Association (WTA) events but can enter eight tournaments in the next 12 months (including two grand slams) due to her protected world number one ranking. "But anyone who is counting Serena out is doing so at their peril".

"To give birth is the best thing in the world".

Serena (and all mothers) should be protected by the WTA and allowed to use their protected ranking for seeding, if applicable. 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. However, she exited the arena convinced that the 36-year old isn't far from rediscovering the menace in her game.

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"For now I will just be a player, who knows what will happen in the future. having a part-ownership of the tournament is something that I will look forward to", said Williams of her role in the revamped tournament.

"I hope they revisit those talks although it will be too late for (Williams) unless she decides to have another child", he said.

Osaka defeated fellow 20-year-old Daria Kasatkina in Sunday's final to capture the biggest title of her career but faces a stern test as she bids to build on her momentum, which began with a run to the Australian Open fourth round. For starters, the victor of that massive first-round match will have to face world No. 4 Elina Svitolina in the second round, providing more early-round women's excitement in Miami. "This is the place where the players want to come, where people want to be, I think, in the whole world".

"I was extremely nervous coming on to the court".

The former world number one has been beset with an elbow injury that sidelined him for six months after he was forced to retire at the quarter-finals of Wimbledon past year.

She lost, 6-3, 6-4, to her sister, Venus, at Indian Wells last week in the third match of her comeback.

  • Tabitha Byrd