U.S. Open changes seeding policy for pregnancies
Serena Williams will learn Wednesday if she is seeded at Wimbledon, while a top U.S. Open official is already reportedly saying its seeds will be revised if a return from pregnancy comes into play, though not naming Williams specifically.
The U.S. Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year in September, would “revise the seedings if pregnancy is a factor in the current rankings of a player,” USTA president and chairwoman Katrina Adams said, according to The New York Times.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, was not given one of 32 seeds at the French Open in May, her first Grand Slam since coming back from having daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1.
Her ranking had fallen to No. 453 due to maternity leave. She could enter the major tournament due to the WTA’s protected ranking rule, but it was up to Grand Slam organizers whether to give her a seed.
Williams reached the semifinals of her last eight U.S. Opens, missing the New York event in 2010 and 2017. She has won it six times. Her current ranking is No. 183.
If Williams neither makes a deep Wimbledon run nor plays plenty of summer hard-court matches, it’s likely the U.S. Open will have to decide whether to give her a seed. It sounds like organizers are prepared to.
“It’s the right thing to do for these mothers that are coming back,” Adams said, according to the report, adding that players should not be “penalized” for starting a family.
Williams reached the fourth round of the French Open in her first Grand Slam since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant (but before the world learned). She withdrew before a round of 16 showdown with Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral muscle injury and has not played in a tournament since.
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