The US Open will begin taking pregnancy into account when determining women’s seeding, according to a report by the New York Times.
United States Tennis Association president Katrina Adams told the Times that players returning from pregnancy shouldn’t be “penalized” for having a family: “It’s the right thing to do for these mothers that are coming back.”
The USTA’s move comes after some debate over the seeding of Serena Williams at last month’s French Open, which is organized by the French Tennis Federation.
Williams, who gave birth to her daughter in September, was unseeded (and went on to defeat two seeded players before exiting the tournament with a pectoral injury) in part because of time she spent not competing because of her pregnancy, which she announced in April 2017. Williams was ranked No. 1 before giving birth; she is now ranked No. 183.
Majors give out seeding predominantly based on a player’s ranking, which takes into account recent win-loss records. Under current WTA rules, rankings are not protected for players who are injured or pregnant.
Wimbledon has traditionally been the only major that considers other factors for seeding, such as grass court points earned, and could give Williams a seed when they are announced on Wednesday.
There hasn’t been an indication where Williams, 36, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, may be seeded at the US Open.