Mothers returning to tennis will have increased protection for their rankings on the WTA Tour from next season.
Players coming back from childbirth, or injury, will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period.
However, Serena Williams’ wish for returning mothers to be seeded in line with that ranking has not been granted.
The WTA has instead decided to guarantee they will not face a seeded player in a tournament’s opening round.
As things stand, players must begin their comeback within two years, and then have a further year in which they can enter eight events under their protected ranking – the ranking held at the start of their absence.
Those rules also apply to players returning from injury.
But there is no protection in place for seedings, with tournaments able to use their own discretion to seed players.
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.