The 23-time Grand Slam champion ranked No. 1 before taking a break to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September. Upon her return to the court for the French Open, Williams found herself at No. 453 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, with the French Tennis Federation denying her a seeding.
In a new interview with “Good Morning America,” the tennis star shared her hopes that the upcoming Wimbledon Championships, which kick off July 2, will change seeding rules for returning mothers. The decision will be announced tomorrow following today’s meeting of the All England Tennis Club.
“They never took into account women that left [at] No. 1 [because of] being pregnant,” Williams said. “I think and I hope — and it should be under review — to change these rules. Maybe not in time for me but for the next person.”
Her appearance on the TV show came shortly after U.S. Open officials announced that they will no longer penalize athletes whose rankings have taken a hit due to maternity leave. The protocol change will take place when the tournament starts in August.
Williams is ranked No. 183 in the world, winning six U.S. Open titles in 17 appearances. She withdrew from the French Open in May following a pectoral muscle injury and hasn’t definitively said whether she’ll be playing at Wimbledon, which she’s won seven times.
Although she couldn’t defend her Wimbledon title due to her pregnancy, the 36-year-old athlete famously won last year’s Australian Open when she was two months pregnant.
“I think that being pregnant actually helped me win that Grand Slam,” she told “GMA.” “That’s why I gave my daughter the trophy. I don’t think I would’ve won if I was not pregnant. It just took away all fear that I had. I just felt like I have absolutely nothing to lose. I’ve never played so fearless in my life, and it was just … a whole new feeling.”