Serena Williams scored big wins in the fight to get her compression catsuit accepted by the Women’s Tennis Association and to protect rankings after a mom gives birth.
After Williams’ catsuit leggings made headline and caused the WTA to call for its ban, she fought back saying it was designed to help prevent blood clots during play after she gave birth to her daughter.
The WTA announced that there will be two rule changes in fact: one that now allows the compression catsuits and mothers who give birth won’t suffer a dip in rankings like Williams did but instead their ranking would be protected until they return from maternity leave, the Daily Mail reports.
Earlier this year, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli decided to ban the one-piece body suit “out of respect [for] the game and the place.”
Williams talked to the Federation earlier this year, and they ultimately reconsidered.
“I feel like if and when they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be OK with it,” Williams said. “So I think it’s fine. The [French Federation] president, he’s been really amazing. He’s been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so we have a wonderful relationship. Yeah, I’m sure we would come to an understanding and everything will be OK.”
Following the ban there was an outcry from supporters like Nike, and tennis legend Billie Jean King, who took issue with the policing of a Black woman’s body.
The WTA will now allow “leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts without a skirt, shorts, or a dress.”
Williams ranking also fell to 451 when she was not seeded at the French Open, something that happened because of taking time off for maternity leave, the outlet reports.
Now the WTA has decided to enact rankings protections for players returning from maternity leave or injury. They will be able to maintain their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period, according to reports.
Williams’ did request specifically for mothers returning from maternity leave to be seeded in line with their rankings, but that request hasn’t been granted.