The modifications handle points that got here up in 2018 when former world primary Serena Williams, who returned to motion after giving start, was unseeded for some occasions and prompted an uproar with a black, skin-tight bodysuit she wore on the French Open.
However after gathering suggestions from gamers, the WTA mentioned its board of administrators accepted modifications that can permit gamers out of competitors for 52 weeks or longer to make use of their Particular Rating in 12 tournaments.
A participant coming back from being pregnant may have a three-year interval to make use of her Particular Rating, which is able to now start on the start of the kid.
Serena Williams’ French Open catsuitGetty Pictures
For gamers who would qualify for a seeded place within the draw, the up to date rule will guarantee they won’t face a seed within the opening rounds whether or not coming back from being pregnant or damage.
Williams’s world rating had fallen to 451 when she was not seeded on the French Open. The American was, nevertheless, seeded 25th at this 12 months’s Wimbledon regardless of being ranked outdoors the world’s high 32 gamers.
Former world primary Victoria Azarenka, who returned to tennis in mid-2017 following the start of her son, welcomed the rule change.
“Our gamers ought to really feel comfy and assured to take time away from the courts to have a household or recuperate from damage and I believe these new guidelines assist that,” Azarenka, who’s on the a WTA Gamers’ Council, mentioned in an announcement.
“This can be a actually good first step and we’re utilizing it as a base to proceed to search for methods to enhance and spotlight the significance of moms working and being on Tour.”
The board of administrators additionally agreed that gamers at WTA tournaments wouldn’t be prohibited from sporting leggings or compression shorts and not using a skirt, costume or shorts over them.
The WTA had no rule explicitly banning a participant from sporting such outfits however adjusted the language of its rule to be extra clear.
The black catsuit worn by Williams at Roland Garros sparked loads of debate and attracted the ire of the French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli.
“Whereas this has not been a difficulty thus far, we wished to make it clear that there isn’t any prohibition on these things,” WTA chief government Steve Simon mentioned in an announcement.
“We perceive the significance of modernizing the costume code and guaranteeing that our gamers have flexibility in selecting the clothes they put on. Our guidelines shouldn’t prohibit that.”
Amongst different rule modifications is the rollout of a 25-second shot clock between factors at premier occasions in 2019, with a full rollout for all WTA tournaments in 2020, in a bid to hurry up the tempo of play.
Gamers may also solely be allowed one bathroom/change of apparel break per match, down from the earlier two.