Just last week, the WTA officially made a rule change allowing their players returning from childbirth to use a special protected ranking for up to 12 months or three years. It was a welcome change especially for Serena Williams who just gave birth to her daughter Olympia 13 months ago.
“I think it’s great,” Serena said in Abu Dhabi where she played and lost to sister Venus in an exo match.
“Women that are younger can go out there and have kids and not have to worry about it, and not have to wait until the twilight of their years to have children, and I think it’s a really great rule.”
According to reports, journalists at the exo were instructed not to ask Serena about her controversial US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka, but someone in the media managed to slip the question in anyway.
“I don’t avoid anything. I just don’t have time to talk about that,” Serena said. “I talked about it, everyone talked about it for months and months and months and it’s best to move on to bigger and better things.”
Serena, who hasn’t played an official WTA match since New York, will be in Perth next week for the Hopman Cup where she could face Roger Federer among other players.
“I feel like I’m pretty fit,” Serena said after the loss to Venus. “I was running and running and never got tired except for one point but then I got over it in 20 seconds, so I think that was really the highlight for me.”
WTA SPECIAL RANKING RULE
* A player who is out of competition for more than 6 months but less than one year may use her special ranking for up to 8 tournaments in a one-year period.
* A player who is out of competition for one year or more may use her special ranking for up to 12 tournaments in a one-year period.
* If a player is out of competition due to pregnancy or a medical condition, she is allowed 3 years to use her special ranking. In the event of pregnancy, the time period is calculated from the birth of the child.
* If a player is out of competition due to adoption, surrogacy, or legal guardianship, she is allowed 2 years to use her special ranking.
* If a player’s special ranking would earn a seeded position, that player will be drawn as an “additional seed” to play a non-seed in the first round. A ”additional seed” does not bump an otherwise seeded player.
* Upon her return, a player is eligible to use her special ranking for seeding purposes at the 1st 8 WTA tournaments she plays.
* A player may freeze her ranking up to two times. Under the previous rule, a player was allowed to freeze her ranking just once.
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