Seven-time champion Serena Williams could still be made the number one seed at Wimbledon this year, even if the American does not climb back into the world’s top 32 before the tournament.

Williams, 36, has dropped to 449th in the world since giving birth last year.

She believes players returning from pregnancy should have protected seedings as well as protected rankings.

Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club, told BBC Sport that it was a “big decision”.

Lewis said initially he thought it was “unlikely” Williams would be given a seeding if she was ranked outside the 32 in the run-up to the tournament, which starts on 2 July.

However, the club later issued a statement clarifying that its committee had the discretion to seed a player for the Championships regardless of their ranking.

“The seeding order follows the WTA ranking list, except where in the opinion of the committee, a change is necessary to produce a balanced draw,” the club said.

The seeding meeting is due to take place on 26 June.

Williams, who gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September, has played four singles matches since returning to action, reaching the last 32 in Indian Wells before losing to older sister Venus and then going out to Japan’s rising star Naomi Osaka in round one at Miami.

After Indian Wells, world number one Simona Halep said she believed Serena Williams “should have been given top seed”, while Miami tournament director James Blake said the seeding rules for players returning from pregnancy were “a kind of punishment”.

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