US Open Tennis to Update Seeding Protocols to Account for Pregnancy Leave

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 23, 2018

FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, United States' Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. Unbeknownst to fans and foes, Serena Williams was two months pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open. Williams is expected to have a strong 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
Dita Alangkara/Associated Press

The United States Tennis Association is revamping its seeding protocols for this year's U.S. Open to account for players who are coming back from pregnancy leave. 

Per David Waldstein of the New York Times, president and chairwoman of the United States Tennis Association Katrina Adams wants to make sure players aren't "penalized" by receiving a lower seed or going unranked due to family commitments. 

"It's the right thing to do for these mothers that are coming back," Adams told Waldstein. 

The French Open drew criticism last month for not seeding Serena Williams, who was playing her first major tournament since giving birth to her first child last September. 

"This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking," the French Tennis Federation said in a statement about its seeding process. "Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's world ranking."

Williams was the top-ranked women's player in the world and had just won the Australian Open when she took a break from the sport while pregnant last year.

WTA rules state players who drop in the rankings due to missed time don't receive protected seedings in tournaments, regardless of the reason. 

Adams noted there have been no guarantees made about where Williams might be seeded when the U.S. Open begins on Aug. 27, just that it would "revise the seedings if pregnancy is a factor in the current rankings of a player."

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