Serena Williams’ star power has just influenced a major rule change at Wimbledon.
What would Wimbledon be without Serena Williams? Less entertaining, that’s for sure.
Thank goodness then that she’s set to return to the grass courts next week to defend her seven-time champion title.
However, it hasn’t been without its challenges. After giving birth to her first child, Olympia, Williams took maternity leave. Not playing the sport at a competitive level for six months meant that on her return, And, despite turning up at the French Open in a Black Panther-esque catsuit, she was still seeded 183rd, previously being world number one.
For those who aren’t aware, being seeded in the 183rd position would mean that Williams couldn’t compete at Wimbledon as only the world’s top 32 players can play.
But the All England Club has rectified the situation by seeding her number 25, and it could mean that the future for female tennis players is about to look a lot different.
Speaking on Good Morning America, before the seedings were announced, the tennis star said:
“Unfortunately, in the ‘90s they changed the rule. […] If you were injured [and] then you came back, you lose your seeding,” she said. “They never took into account women that left number one and left not for an injury, but to have a great life and not give up tennis, but to come back.”
She continued: “I think and I hope – and it should be under review – to change these rules, maybe not in time for me, but for the next person. Maybe she’s 25 and she wants to have a baby, but she doesn’t want her career to be over. She wants to continue to play. So I think it’s important to have those rules.”
Now, according to the New York Times, the US Open is considering how they seed female players after returning from maternity leave.
But not everyone is on board with the new policy.
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Cibulkova, the former world No 4 and 2014 Australian Open finalist, who twice has made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, said this week.
Watch this space.
Wimbledon is due to air on BBC One on Monday 2 July.
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