Published: Mon, December 31, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Serena Williams welcomes rule to protect new mothers

Serena Williams welcomes rule to protect new mothers

The American player, who keeps competing at a high level at 37 years of age, said: 'I did a lot of hard work to get where I am in tennis.

Under the WTA's new rules, which will take effect in 2019, a player's ranking freezes in the event of injury, illness or pregnancy.

They will get protected seeding.

"It is great. Women who are younger can go out there and have kids".

Williams, along with other mothers on tour like former world number one Victoria Azarenka, had been advocating for such rule changes that would ease the transition back for players following the birth of their children.

In a photo provided by HBO date not provided, Serena Williams holds her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanion Jr., in a scene from the HBO's "Being Serena", a five-part documentary series.

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Someone who is out of competition for more than six months but less than a year may use her special ranking for up to eight tournaments in a one-year period.

When she returned to play in March after giving birth to her daughter, she was unseeded at Indian Wells and in Miami, losing early in both tournaments. "I think we can only go up from here and that's our plan", Venus said after defeating the victor of 23 Grand Slam titles.

"I think having gone through the experience myself really opened my eyes up to me and, 'Would I have done it sooner had there been different rule changes?' I don't know".

Asked if the US Open final is a topic she'd like to avoid as the new season kicks off, Serena said: "I don't avoid anything. But I feel like it's just something that's always going to be there and be special and I'm happy that they did it". Williams lost the final at Wimbledon to Angelique Kerber and the US Open title to Naomi Osaka in 2018.

The 23-time grand slam champion, who competed in the first women's match at MWTC previous year against Jelena Ostapenko, said she was glad to be back in the capital and to be able to share the spotlight with her older sibling.

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