May 28, 2018
When she went on “sabbatical” from tennis 16 months ago to become a mother, Serena Williams had just won the Australian Open and was ranked number one in the world.
But when she came back to tennis after giving birth to her daughter Olympia, the French Open refused to give her a tournament seed. That means that she could have to face some of the top competitors in the world right away – instead of facing lower-ranked opponents, as she has earned with her 23 major titles!
Players returning from pregnancy to tennis are given the same “special ranking” as players who get injured. This is an old rule, dating from when it was assumed that only young women would be athletes, and that they would retire when they wanted children.
But pregnancy is not an injury. And as other champion mothers like Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka have proved, women can have children and play sports at the highest possible level. Serena Williams has more than earned the right to a good tournament seed, child and all!