Should the Return of Serena Williams Prompt a Rule Change?
Serena Williams’ return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter has prompted a seeding debate. The 23 times Grand Slam winner who went on maternity leaves for 13 months played unranked and unseeded against Naomi Osaka, at the Indian Wells Champion.
What has sparked debate is that the most established tennis star that was ranked the world’s number one player a year ago, before her leave, is currently ranked 491 and can be eliminated in the earliest levels of the tournament.
With Wimbledon 2018, just around the corner, this is indeed a great concern. Serena will be playing this year’s Wimbledon tennis. Get your Wimbledon tickets here.
Williams has won the Miami Open 8 times earlier, but she can still not be seeded merely because she is unranked due to her leaves. The WTA does not do special seedings anymore which means that women who go on leave due to pregnancy are treated equally as those who miss due to long-term injury.
WTA chief Simon said that WTA is very supportive of those players who come back from pregnancy leaves and he expected a re-examination of their seeding rules.
However, Mandy Manella who rejoined tennis after her childbirth last month said that this is not a ‘punishment’ to Williams and no changes should be made to the seeding rule.
The 32-year-old player, who went on 99 days leave for the delivery of her baby, said that “For entertainment reasons, it’s very important to have Serena Williams in the draw, but I don’t think it’s important to have her in the seeding positions at the moment.”
Mandy believes that it’s a tricky situation because if Serena got seeded now, “she would take away the spot of another girl who had fought all year to have a seeding.”