December 13, 2018 / 6:47 PM / 5 months ago

WTA to offer increased rankings protection for returning mothers: report

FILE PHOTO: Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the United States stands on the court after her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan (not pictured) in the women's final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will offer greater protection to the rankings of mothers returning to the tour after giving birth, British media reported on Thursday.

Players returning from maternity leave or injury will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period.

However, Serena Williams’ request for returning mothers to be seeded in line with their rankings has not been approved.

The 23-times Grand Slam champion made a comeback in February after giving birth to her daughter last year.

Her world ranking had fallen to 451 when she was not seeded at the French Open. She was, however, seeded 25th at this year’s Wimbledon despite being ranked outside world’s top 32 players.

The BBC reported that the WTA had also clarified its regulations around clothing to ensure Williams would be able to wear the black catsuit which attracted the ire of the French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli.

The WTA did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for confirmation.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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