U.S. Open will alter seeding to consider pregnancies after handling of Serena Williams' return

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Serena Williams celebrates (Getty Images)

The U.S. Open will alter its seeding protocol to account for players coming back from pregnancy, The New York Times reported Saturday.

“It’s the right thing to do for these mothers that are coming back,” Katrina Adams, the president and chairwoman of the United States Tennis Association, said. She added that players returning from pregnancy should not be “penalized” for starting a family.

The decision comes after the USTA faced criticism for how the organization handled the seeding of Serena Williams at the French Open last month. She entered unseeded after the birth of her daughter in September.

ESPN notes, “Before her pregnancy, Williams was ranked No. 1; she is now ranked No. 183, and did not receive a seed at Roland Garros. But Williams went on to beat seeded players in the second and third rounds before withdrawing with a pectoral injury.”

“I’m a former player and I get it,” Adams said. “I would not want to be the No. 32 player in the world who has worked hard in the last year to obtain this ranking. But we’re a Grand Slam, and we have the right and the opportunity to seed the players according to what we feel is justified.”

Adams didn’t say where Williams would be seeded for the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 27, but she did say that they would “revise the seedings if pregnancy is a factor in the current rankings of a player.”