We asked Andre Agassi whether female tennis players should lose their rank when they go on maternity leave - here's what he said
- Serena Williams has dominated the Wimbledon Championships women's singles field so far and will face Angelique Kerber in the tournament final on Saturday.
- While Williams looks as good as ever, she has not had it easy.
- Before Wimbledon, she was not even seeded at the 2018 French Open. WTA rules mean women who return to the sport after having a baby as Williams has done, only have their tournament status protected - not their actual seed, and placement in a tournament.
- Wimbledon seemingly disagrees as, despite Williams' WTA rank of 183, the All England Club positioned Williams as a 25th seed.
- Williams' situation has raised the issue of whether women who take time off to give birth deserve to have their seeding protected, as well as their tournament status.
- Business Insider put this question to Andre Agassi at Wimbledon, here's what he said.
- Read all of Business Insider's Wimbledon coverage here.
Serena Williams may have been expecting to take "baby steps" ahead of her return to the sport after pregnancy, but the comeback queen remains firmly on course to make one giant leap forward and secure an extraordinary eighth Wimbledon Championships title.
Williams has already stormed to the women's singles final and faces 2016 Wimbledon finalist Angelique Kerber on Saturday.
Williams has only dropped one set in six Wimbledon matches so far and that, alone, is an impressive feat. But what makes Williams' run even more astonishing is that she has done so having competed in only three WTA events before Wimbledon.
Williams has returned to tennis after taking time away from the sport to give birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. in September, and she looks just as dominant as ever.
But she has not had it easy. Williams was not seeded for the 2018 French Open, the second major of the year, because WTA rulings mean women who return to tennis after having a baby only have their entry into tournaments protected - they do not have their actual seedings in the competitions protected. This means they can play in the competition; they just won't get favourable placement in the tournament bracket.
Regardless of her world rank of 183, Williams was given the 25th seed at Wimbledon as the All England Club overruled the WTA's positioning of Williams in world tennis. Wimbledon seemingly disagrees with where the WTA think Williams is at right now.
It raises the question of whether highly-ranked women who return to tennis after giving birth deserve to have their seed protected, as well as their tournament status.
Business Insider asked Andre Agassi about this at a recent Lavazza event at Wimbledon.
Here's what he said:
"I can't speak for Serena but I can speak for being a champion on some level, and this isn't a human rights issue, there should be a right. This is a decision made with full respect to a lot of considerations. One thing I can say on her behalf, that she may hopefully agree with. She's here to win. What she's seeded is not going to determine her winning this event. Will you get an easier draw? Maybe one or two rounds but I got news for ya, the rest of the field is more worried about her being about not seeded than she is."
Williams' pregnancy was not without complications, as she told the BBC this week: "It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries. There was a time I could barely walk to my mailbox."
Williams then said she did not feel she deserved her status as the media's favourite for another Wimbledon title, as she had only "played four tournaments."
She added: "I was expecting a few more baby steps myself. I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back. [But] every time I go out there, I want to I guess take a giant step forward, keep taking giant steps, but keep improving."
Agassi believes she can go all the way and make one massive leap over the finish line. "I think she can win [Wimbledon]," he told us last week.
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