Having a baby can have a big impact in your career—especially when your career is that of being a tennis superstar like Serena Williams. Williams already made history for being the first female tennis player to compete—and win—the Australian Open while pregnant. Now, she’s blazed yet another trail for female athletes as the U.S. Open has ruled it will no longer penalize female players for being pregnant.
On the heels of the French Open, many criticized how Williams was dropped from her No. 1 seeding to 453 as a result of her taking her much-needed maternity leave. (Williams ultimately withdrew from the competition due to an injury.) The U.S. Open announced a major change to its own rules in light of Williams’ French Open fiasco, declaring that it will protect the rankings of female athletes returning to the game post-pregnancy.
Katrina Adams, president and chairwoman of the United States Tennis Association, told The New York Times that the U.S. Open would “revise the seedings if pregnancy is a factor in the current rankings of a player.” While there is some resistance to giving new moms special treatment, Adams likened the situation to an executive returning to a job after maternity leave and being forced to take an entry-level position.
“We’ve shown that we have been a leader over the decades, from equal prize money onward to what we are doing today,” Adams told The Times. “We are all about social justice and equality, and this is definitely an instance of equality.”
No word yet on where Williams will fall in the rankings for the U.S Open, but she just made her return to Wimbledon with a No. 25 seeding and took home her 87th tournament victory in the first round, proving that this new mom has still got it.
Featured photo: Serena Williams via Instagram