Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time, but the French Open is trying to dim her light. Why? All because she is a mom.
Williams has been on sabbatical for 16 months after giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on September 1. Therefore, the French Tennis Federation is ranking Williams at number 453, which means she will not be seeded at the French Open when she plays next week. Not being seeded means it is nearly impossible for Williams to win the tournament. When Williams started her sabbatical to prepare for having a baby, she was number one in the world.
Many are calling this decision deeply sexist toward mothers. USA Today reports. The larger, inexcusable point is the discriminatory way in which motherhood is viewed by both tournament organizers and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). The idea that players should have to choose between having a family and having a career is as antiquated as wooden rackets. WTA rules grant players returning from injuries and maternity leave a ‘special ranking,’ which preserves entry into tournaments but not seeding.” See some of the outrage on Twitter:
Clearly these rules are outdated and it this will be a start to them being changed. No woman should be punished for having a child, whether it’s a blue collar job or tennis. According to The National, Maria Sharapova said she would like to see a change, “It’s such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from [giving birth] physically, emotionally.” Top-ranked Simona Halep also said that “it’s good to protect the ranking when someone is giving birth.”
Nonetheless, Serena, who is a three-time French Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner, will certainly rise again.