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Serena: I Was Penalized For Maternity Leave

Serena Williams celebrates International Women’s Day speaking out for women's rights—and ripping the WTA "biased" ranking system that "penalized" her for taking maternity leave.

In an op-ed she wrote for Forbes, titled "We Must Band Together to Fight for What’s Fair", the former No. 1 asserts: " I’m working to break down all the double standards that we face on a daily basis. Women deserve to be given the same respect and opportunities as our male counterparts."

Watch: Osaka Wants To Win, Not Defend

Serena slams the WTA ranking system that punished her for maternity leave and charges it ultimately led to injury, writing:

"When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from #1 in the world to #453. That required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out. I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after, but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children."


A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

The 37-year-old Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian on September 1st, 2017.

When the four-time Olympic gold-medal champion returned to the WTA Tour at the 2018 Indian Wells, then world No. 1 Simona Halep said Serena should have been seeded first in her comeback tournament.

The top-seeded Halep said Williams should have been seeded first on a protected seeding because she was world No. 1 when she took a break from tennis to give birth to her daughter.

"I think she should have been actually No. 1 seed in this tournament because she left as No. 1 in the world," said Halep. "And to give birth, it's the best thing in the world. It's more than a sport. So I think she should have been ranked as she left.

"Not taking the ranking because she didn't play tournaments, but just protected ranking for—I don't know how many tournaments you have, like, eight. She could be the No. 1 seed for that, for those tournaments. This is my opinion."

Photo credit: Hopman Cup Facebook