“It Was a Very Difficult Time”: Billie Jean King Reflects Back on How WTA Was Born




November 22nd is the birthday of one of the greatest tennis players ever – Billie Jean King. The American legend has won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles, which is absolutely amazing. However, her biggest achievement was actually off the tennis court as she formed the WTA.

King talked about this in a recent interview as she said,

“It was a very difficult time because they had less and less tournaments for us, for the women in 1968 when we started getting paid. We got paid a lot less. But what was really, really happening, really was horrible is we were getting rid of tournaments. So we didn’t have any place to compete.”

Billie Jean King
SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 26: Serena Williams of USA shares a joke with Billie Jean King after her win over Simona Halep of Romania in the final during day seven of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals tennis at the Singapore Sports Hub on October 26, 2014 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Billie Jean King Forms The WTA

It was clearly a difficult time for female tennis players in the early 1970s, which is why Billie Jean King took some action. She and 8 other players came together to form the WTA, which was based on three principles.

“The WTA uses these 3 things: Any girl born in the world, any place in the world where she’s good enough would finally have a place to compete. Number two, that we’d be appreciated for our accomplishments and not only our looks because everything was about our looks in the old days. Number three, to be able to make a living,” said King.

Clearly, the WTA managed to achieve all of these goals, and right now, they are the leaders in women’s sports. On average, a female tennis player makes a lot more than any other female athletes. In the 2020 list of highest-paid female athletes, 9 out of the top 10 were tennis players, which is incredible.

King is definitely proud of all of these accomplishments, but she recognizes that there is a long way to go. She is going to continue working for women’s tennis and it is amazing that she is doing so.

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