The Women’s Tennis Association has had a rough go of it lately, and it appears they are finally doing something to address the sport’s ongoing issues.
The 2018 season culminated in the US Open Women’s Singles final in September, during which Serena Williams was targeted unfairly by an umpire who smacked her with SEVERAL code violations. That controversy came after a string of upsets for Williams.
Now, the WTA has made some much-needed changes to its rulebook.
The first change addresses the infamous French Open catsuit, which Williams, 37, wore to her match, prompting French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli to ban the outfit “out of respect [for] the game and the place,” i.e., out of the same sexism present in many high school dress codes.
The catsuit was not just a look but served a function that was vital to Williams’ health. According to Glamour, the suit “was specifically designed for Williams to prevent blood clots from forming while she played. She has a history of blood clots and was especially at risk following childbirth.”
Williams said about the outfit:
“All the moms out there that had a tough pregnancy and have to come back and try to be fierce, in [the] middle of everything, that’s what this represents.”
The WTA specifically addressed this in its updated rules for 2019:
“Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts, or dress.”
Serena Williams' 'Wakanda' catsuit has officially been approved by the Women’s Tennis Association. pic.twitter.com/AZZchSTGYO
— MoorInfo (@MoorInformation) December 14, 2018
"Giudicelli is still welcome to shield his virgin eyes, though." 😏 https://t.co/zdRTloQtcC
— Marilou Craft (@ohmaloutre) December 14, 2018
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 12, 2018
— Glamour Fashion (@glamour_fashion) December 13, 2018
The WTA also addressed women’s rankings following maternity leave, another issue that affected Williams this season.
It takes ONE woman to protest hard and pave the way for all women. Women now allowed to wear compression shorts and protect their ranking when returning from pregnancy. You star @serenawilliams! https://t.co/bLCWWjOGb1
— Aparna Jain (@Aparna) December 14, 2018
Women's Tennis has announced 2 rule changes. serenawilliams's her infamous 'catsuit' leggings are now permitted, and mothers will be granted added rankings protection when coming back from maternity leave.
VirenFerrao shares the details. pic.twitter.com/aoHU0FBgGQ
— Vikram Bodke 🤩 (@vickrambodke) December 14, 2018
— Lilly Workneh (@Lilly_Works) December 13, 2018
A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall. -Serena Williams pic.twitter.com/eQqagyFlRu
— Audrey LeMasters (@alemast97) December 14, 2018
— Lifestyle Luxury (@LifestyleLux24) December 14, 2018
Which begs the question: Why did it take so long to change outdated rules?
And this is where we are in 2018, forced to celebrate that the best athlete in the world can wear athletic apparel that can prevent her from throwing a clot while winning her damn game. But ok, I’ll take it. 👏🏽https://t.co/cOk0avLXrB #serena
— T Delfín (@professordelfin) December 14, 2018
— jamiaw (@jamiaw) December 14, 2018
“The WTA announced the changes on Tuesday, according to Deadspin. The organization will now allow players to wear compression clothing with or without a skirt.” https://t.co/OlpLaGehjq
— Ray Winbush (@rwinbush) December 14, 2018
— ShawnYancy (@Fox5Shawn) December 13, 2018
— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) December 14, 2018
Probably Queen Serena now After Reading WTA has Changed rules about what to wear or not wear on Court and protected Ranking for mothers. The power Of Goat. #serenawilliams #wta pic.twitter.com/KvOmivkMcJ
— Katastroff (@francangiano) December 14, 2018
Serena Williams, a Black woman, is the catalyst to the changing of the rules in one of the historically Whitest sports in the country. #Proud
Black people move this nation forward, kicking and screaming, but we move it. For 500+ years, we make it move. https://t.co/5iDcZpzQ7D
— Caffeinated Living (@WokeLiving) December 13, 2018
Ahead of the 2019 WTA season, a new rule that allows for calf-length leggings or compression shorts to be legal without a skirt on top has been approved. Most players uses them for training and can now play on court in them.
A victory for Serena Williams I think.
— Yemiojo Samuel (@yemmmyojo) December 12, 2018
The rules go into effect at the beginning of the 2019 season, which Williams has said she’s ready to take on.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) December 14, 2018
We hope there will be significantly less sexism on the courts this time around.