Serena Williams is now a mother, but don’t expect the hate to stop | Paul MacInnes

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The greatest champion of the modern era has had to achieve it all to a backdrop of thinly veiled racism and unjust criticism – sadly, her having a baby is unlikely to change anything

Would someone please give Serena Williams a break? Two weeks into her comeback, seven months after giving birth to daughter Olympia (her name chosen from a shortlist of those associated with strength), the winner of 23 grand slam singles crowns was forced to endure another round of the rubbish that has been as consistent a part of her career as the titles.

Williams had to enter the Miami Open this week as an unseeded player, a wildcard in fact. This despite the fact that she left for her maternity leave as the women’s world No 1, at 35 years and seven months the oldest person ever to hold that position. Without commenting on the matter herself, Serena’s deseeding has become a talking point in Florida after she was drawn against Naomi Osaka, last week’s Indian Wells champion, in the first round, a game she subsequently lost on Wednesday night. The director of the Miami Open, James Blake, has suggested: “These kind of things shouldn’t happen.”

Related: Navratilova: BBC pays McEnroe 10 times more for Wimbledon role

Related: Venus Williams upstages Serena in third-round blockbuster at Indian Wells

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