Ivanka Trump defends Serena Williams, slams women's tennis for 'ridiculous' maternity rule

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While nobody really knows what to expect from Williams, Sharapova had a chance to fine-tune her clay-court game last week in Rome and made it to the semifinals, beating reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and losing a three-setter to top-ranked Simona Halep.

The 36-year-old tennis player, formerly ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association when she left to give birth to her daughter Alexis in 2017, is now at No. 453 in the ranking because of her 14-month hiatus.

Without a seeding, the 23-time Grand Slam champion risks facing highly ranked players in the early rounds.

"This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking, " the French Tennis Federation said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday. Williams had her first child in September. The American player is now outside top 400 and will enter the main draw without being included in the seeding.

As a result, French Open organizers announced that they are following guidelines and declining to seed her at the tournament.

Trump said the Women's Tennis Association needs to change its rule'immediately
Trump said the Women's Tennis Association needs to change its rule'immediately

Any tweaking of the rules would come too late for Williams this time around, but many hope it could help trigger a deeper conversation, and even prompt real change for professional female athletes.

"Sharapova, who made a comeback of her own previous year after returning from a 15-month suspension for a positive drug test, said she believes Williams, the former No. 1, deserves a seeding". 'So, yeah, I definitely think that would be a nice change'.

'It's wrong, they should protect players', Evert told Reuters.

See her tweet below. "So the people will decide what seed she will get". She has a line of apparel and accessories that says it's "committed to helping women create the lives they want to lead", although some critics have claimed that Trump hasn't done enough to push the president toward policies that many women support.

"The career of sports women are now stretching into their mid-30s - you start to affect the ability of sports women to be able to have children after their careers because you actually run out of fertile years", she said.

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