Serena Williams is heading back to the the court after her maternity leave.
There’s only one problem: She’s returning to tennis with no ranking, despite leaving the game as number one. In one of her first tournament appearances since she gave birth, Williams will play as an unseeded player, instead as one of the 32 seeded players at the upcoming Miami Open.
According to the BBC, tournament director of the Miami Open, James Blake, spoke out against the double standard that he says is punishing women like Serena.
Blake is a former tennis player himself and likely sympathizes with Williams’ long climb back to the top spot.
Williams is returning to tennis after a 13-month maternity leave. Although Williams is the winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, her record has not helped her keep her spot in the rankings. Instead, her previous standing can only give her eight entries to tournaments over the course of the next year.
Of those eight, two entries can be used to compete for a Grand Slam title.
The Women’s Tennis Association once had special protections for players who left for maternity leave, but those have since been lumped in with the protocols for players who are returning from injuries.
Such a public focus on the outdated rule may be what the association needs to reconsider how they handle future athletes who opt to go on maternity leave.