Williams ranking went from 1st to 453rd.
In honor of International Women's Day, tennis star Serena Williams penned an op-ed for Fortune where she discusses some of the hardships she has faced as a woman in sports. One of the biggest things she touches on is how the sport treated her when she took maternity leave back in 2017. Williams came back to tennis eight months after giving berth and in that timespan, she lost the #1 ranking that she had worked so hard to achieve. For Williams, the rankings drop was unjust and led to unnecessary injuries.
"When I returned to tennis from maternity leave, I was penalized for taking time off: my ranking dropped from #1 in the world to #453," Serena explained. "That required me to face tougher competition earlier in the French Open, which led to a pectoral injury that forced me to drop out."
Williams also went on to say that something needs to change in tennis so that new mothers are protected when they take a leave of absence. Since dropping to 453rd, Serena has found her way back to the top 10.
"I fought hard personally, making it to the Wimbledon final shortly after, but I also fought hard publicly against the biased ranking system. We must stop penalizing women when they return to their careers after having children," Williams added. "Women deserve to be given the same respect and opportunities as our male counterparts. We are entitled to the same open doors."
Williams is second all-time in Major titles with 23 and needs one more to tie Margaret Court for first.