- Ivanka Trump has defended Serena Williams after the French Open declined to seed the tennis champ, who returned from maternity leave
- Williams stepped away from the sport to give birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September
- Williams was No. 1 before leaving the WTA tour but is now ranked at No. 453
- Trump said in a tweet that Williams seed should have been protected while she was on maternity leave
- Williams’ rivals Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep also stood up for Williams saying the rule for maternity leave needs to change
Ivanka Trump is demanding the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) make a change after the French Open declined to give Serena Williams seeding after the tennis champ’s maternity leave.
Williams was world number one before leaving the tour last year to have a baby but the 23-time grand slam champion enters Roland Garros ranked 453rd.
The three-time French Open champion was not granted a seed by tournament organizers, triggering criticism from women’s groups and tennis fans, including the First Daughter.
‘This is ridiculous. @SerenaWilliams is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother,’ Trump wrote on Twitter.
‘No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child!’ Ivanka Trump tweeted calling for the WTA to change its rule after the French Open declined to seed Serena Williams, who was out on maternity leave
Trump said the Women’s Tennis Association needs to change its rule ‘immediately’
Williams was world number one before leaving the tour last year to have a baby but the 23-time grand slam champion enters Roland Garros ranked 453rd
Williams stepped away from the sport to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September
‘No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child! The #WTA should change this rule immediately. #FrenchOpen.’
Williams returned to the professional Women’s Tennis Association tour in March at Indian Wells in Southern California.
She won her first two matches before losing to sister Venus Williams. Two weeks later, she fell to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the opening round of the Miami Open.
President Donald Trump’s daughter is not the only one standing up for Williams, who gave birth to her and husband Alexis Ohanian’s daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September.
Maria Sharapova (left) and Simona Halep (right) also stood up for Williams saying the rule for maternity leave needs to change
‘Tennis is such a selfish sport but I think when there’s a child in your life you lose a little bit of that, because there’s something that’s so much more important,’ Wiliams’ tennis rival Maria Sharapova said at the Italian Open last week. ‘So, yeah, I definitely think that would be a nice change.’
Simona Halep also called for a change saying that if a player takes a maternity leave to have a child her ranking should be protected.
‘It’s normal to give birth to a kid. It’s normal to have protected ranking. It’s more than tennis,’ she added. ‘So the people will decide what seed she will get. But in my opinion it’s good to protect the ranking when someone is giving birth.’