TWITTER

Serena Williams’ ‘Wakanda’ Catsuit Approved by Women’s Tennis Association

Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, is considered the best player in the history of tennis. So, the unnecessary obstacles Williams has to face in her career are seemingly serving as teachable moments for the tennis world.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced this week several rule changes for 2019, including: “Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts, or dress.” (Women have worn leggings on tour for a while now, typically, without incident.)

That means Williams’ “Wakanda” catsuit is welcome.

Officials at this year’s French Open banned her from wearing a full-body Nike catsuit — which was to prevent blood clots.

“I feel like a warrior in it, a warrior princess … from Wakanda, maybe,” she told reporters in May, referring to her catsuit and the film Black Panther.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”

Another WTA rule change, after surveying opinions from players this year, is adding protected seeding for highly ranked players returning from maternity leave.

Williams’ return to competitive tennis in March after having her daughter, Alexis Olympia, sparked a prolific debate around maternity leave.

Because she took time off, she lost all of the standing of her pre-baby career as No. 1 in the world. Williams was unseeded at tournaments, including the French Open. She could have entered the tournament under the WTA’s “special ranking rule,” but it was up to the event organizers to give her a seed.

A seeding allows tournaments to ensure the world’s best players do not meet in the early stages of competitions and instead play lower-ranked players in the opening rounds.

“You shouldn’t have to stop altogether just because you want to have a baby young,” Williams, who turned 37 in September, told the New York Times.

“You don’t want to be my age having your first baby, you know what I mean So, I think as a woman you should have that choice to get pregnant and have a baby and still be able to have a career, just like in any other job.”

Victoria Azarenka, another professional player who returned following childbirth, said there was a definite need in creating a balance between the returning player and those who had moved up into seeding positions.

“The conversation started because of Serena, you know, and all respect to her,” she said in March. “If we look at her achievements and where she’s come from, where I come from, it might be a fair choice that we do have a seeding in the tournaments after coming back.”

The WTA rule modification states that players coming back from either childbirth or injury, will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period, instead of only eight.

It was Williams’ hope that returning mothers would be seeded in line with that ranking. But the WTA said it would only guarantee they will not face a seeded player in a tournament’s opening round.

Reader Question: Do you agree that the WTA should protect seeding for highly ranked players returning from maternity leave?

Latest News

woke politics

Republicans Launch a War on ‘Woke’ Politics in Hopes of Big Legislative Wins in 2022

In 2020, former President Barack Obama warned that the phrase “Defund the Police” could become a dangerous rallying cry for the conservative right. But now, Republicans have apparently taken that warning one step further, declaring war on all things “woke.” Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur of NBC News wrote that…

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…