WTA Legends To Be Honored Sunday
Published June 28, 2013 12:00
LONDON, England - The WTA will celebrate four decades of growth and achievement with an amazing gathering of WTA World No.1s at the All-England Club in London this coming Sunday.
Former No.1s, WTA Founder Billie Jean King and Margaret Court will headline the once-in-a-lifetime celebration of women's tennis royalty in this historic season. WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster, King and 19 women who have held the distinction of being ranked No.1 since computer rankings were introduced in 1975 will be honored at this event emceed by Pam Shriver and Mary Carillo. Among the guests will be some of the sport's most iconic and loved names, including Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Justine Henin and Serena Williams.
Fans can enjoy the celebration by watching WTA Live: 40 LOVE presented by Xerox, a webcast of the red carpet arrivals starting at 3pm, then the gala at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT_OVo2FC0c.
"The WTA's 40th Anniversary has given us time to reflect on the impact and inspiration women's professional tennis has had on generations of women," WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster said of the announcement. "This event will provide an amazing opportunity to pay tribute to our Founder Billie Jean King, a pioneer for social change, and the champions who have been responsible for carrying on the vision of equality and empowerment around the world, for the past for decades and onward."
The WTA was founded in 1973, when 63 players, led by Billie Jean King, met behind locked doors in the Gloucester Hotel, London, to form an association seeking equality, recognition and respect. Forty years later, the WTA is the global leader in women's professional sport, and proudly counts many pioneering accomplishments, including the successful campaign for equal prize money. During this time, prize money and global presence has increased from $1.9 million with tournaments in 10 countries in its inaugural year, to $118 million with events in 33 different countries in 2013.
"When we gathered in that hotel room 40 years ago, our vision was that any girl, anywhere in the world, could make a living from tennis if she was good enough," Billie Jean King commented. "Today's WTA players are living that dream. They've taken the baton and run with it, lifting the game to new heights and inspiring a whole new generation of players. I can't believe how far we've come and I couldn't be happier to join these inspirational women to celebrate 40 great years on Sunday."
"I'm so proud to be among the women attending Sunday's 40 LOVE celebration," Serena Williams said. "Tennis empowers women and is one of the best sports for a female to play and be part of. Sharing the stage with so many trailblazers of our sport will be a special experience. There have been some incredible champions and great personalities over the years and I'm honored to be part of the WTA."
To mark its 40th anniversary, the WTA launched a multi-faceted marketing campaign, 40 LOVE, which showcases the pioneers of the game and the current stars who've contributed to the ongoing success of women's tennis and the WTA. Print advertisements entitled 'Forty Years of Breaking Barriers. Thank you for inspiring us' and 30- and 60-second TV spots 'Give' and 'Time Flies' feature emotive archive footage of the game's stars, all of whom have achieved No.1 or won multiple Grand Slam titles.
Other elements of the season-long campaign include a digital program of online fan polls, Top 40 lists and images, and historic moments of the WTA; a global tour of the famed Billie Jean King Trophy (WTA Championships trophy) to WTA tournaments around the world; a WTA 40th anniversary book and video; unique content created for the WTA's new TV magazine show and ePlayer; and a series of celebratory events and promotions throughout the year at WTA events and Grand Slams.
The legends and legendary moments of the WTA have been celebrated on wtatennis.com throughout the year and in the lead-up to the 40 LOVE gala, including profiles of all the World No.1s who will be at the event, and a 'Top 5 Fan Favorite Moments' vote, where fans write in with their favorite memories. The five most popular choices will be published - along with the many fan submissions - this week.
Fans can follow 40 LOVE all year at wtatennis.com, facebook.com/wta and twitter.com/wta.