International Women’s Day

The 8th of March celebrates the incredible women around the world on International Women’s Day.

The world of tennis through many years has been led by outstanding women who have paved the way for soo many and those who are setting an example and showcasing the exceptional levels of women’s tennis are inspiring a generation and fighting for equality.

It isn’t just about doing what they do on the court but using their platform and that is one of the most important parts of this.

The WTA was founded back in June 1973, and will celebrate it’s 48th year this June.

The WTA was founded by what is called the Original 9, this was a group  of players which included:

Julie Heldman
Valerie Ziegenfuss
Judy Dalton
Kristy Piegon
Peaches Bartkowicz
Kerry Melville Reid
Nancy Richey
Rosie Casals
Billie Jean King

Since it was founded they fought for equal rights, pay and deserved recognition.

In 1968 at Wimbledon, Billie Jean King won £750 for winning the title where as Rod Laver won £2000. A couple of years later winning the Grand Slam (all four majors in one year) came with a prize but only $15,000 for the women compared to $1,000,000 for the men.

Over the years we have seen the gap close on equal prize money and fight to equality in the sport.

This is thanks to the great work of those mentioned above but also those since the Original 9.

Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are just some who have used their voice to continue to the conversation and fight for the next generation and inspire players.

One of the most remarkable women in the sport right now is Naomi Osaka. I think she is absolutely exceptional and the respect and admiration she has for Serena and Venus is beautiful but also for someone soo young to use her platform as she does is a credit to her.

She is one of the most likeable people on the tour, I was lucky enough to meet her in Birmingham a couple of years back and she was so lovely and spoke to every fan, a humble champion.

Not only do these women inspire and fight for equality in tennis but in society. The way Naomi conducted herself in the light of the shootings and Black Lives Matter protest in New York last year was powerful.

At the warm-up in Cincinnati she opted against playing her semi-final as scheduled in protest to another brutal murder in the US. At the US Open Naomi came onto court for all her seven matches with names of people who had been killed and kept the conversation going on the Black Lives Matter campaign. It was so powerful and it made the world stand-up, pay attention and also research if you didn’t know the story behind the tragic killings.

Tennis is in safe hands, with players using their platform like Naomi continuing to make the tour better and society better showing the strength using a platform to good can bring.

Thank you to all the women who continue to fight for equality whether it is the fight against sexism, racism or homophobia they are incredible strong!

One thought on “International Women’s Day

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  1. To understand the Original 9 and all that happened at the time, check out one of the best books on tennis over the last twenty years: Julie Heldman’s book “Driven.”

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