Serena Williams has said she was punished by Tennis for going on maternity leave.
Williams came back to tennis eight months after giving birth and in that time span, she lost the #1 ranking that she had worked so hard to achieve. For Williams, the rankings drop was unjust and led to unnecessary injuries.
“When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from #1 in the world to #453,” Serena wrote in an op-ed for Fortune.
“That required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out.”
“I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after, but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children.”
“Women deserve to be given the same respect and opportunities as our male counterparts. We are entitled to the same open doors.”
The good news the WTA announced back in December they recognized this very problem and vowed to give protection to mothers who return to the tour after giving birth.
The WTA says female players who give birth will be able to use their pre-maternity leave ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a 3-year period, which seems like a practical solution.