Ivanka Trump blasts rule she says penalizes Serena Williams at the French Open for having a baby

Clive Brunskill/GettySerena Williams recently returned to tennis following maternity leave.
  • News that Serena Williams will be unseeded at the French Open following her maternity leave has generated significant controversy.
  • Ivanka Trump joined those criticising the decision, calling on the Women’s Tennis Association to change its rules concerning maternity leave.

The Women’s Tennis Association has been generating controversy following news that Serena Williams will be unseeded at the French Open following her maternity leave – and now Ivanka Trump has stepped in to criticise it.

“This is ridiculous,” Trump tweeted, adding that Williams “is a formidable athlete (best ever!) and loving new mother.”

“No person should ever be penalised professionally for having a child!” Trump said. “The #WTA should change this rule immediately.”

WTA rules outline that women who step away to have a baby have their entry into tournaments protected, but not their seeding. Williams had her first child in September.

As a result of being unseeded, Williams will have to face tougher opponents earlier in the French Open than a player of her calibre usually would.

Trump joins the tennis stars Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova in speaking out against this rule. And in a profile in The New York Times last month, Williams said she wanted it changed.

“I think it’s more of a protection for women to have a life,” Williams told The Times. “You shouldn’t have to wait to have a baby until you retire. If you want to have a baby and take a few months off or a year off and then come back, you shouldn’t have to be penalised for that. Pregnancy is not an injury.”

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