Quotable Quotes: In Their Own Words...
Published June 30, 2013 12:05
LONDON, England - From No.1s to Grand Slam winners to those who came close, the legends of the WTA had a ball at the 40 LOVE Party - and some took time out to share their thoughts with us.
Mary Pierce: "Wow. It was just so amazing to see so many of these wonderful champions in the same room - I don't know if it's ever happened before! I'm so proud of the WTA. To see how far it's grown and how far it's come, all the stars and role models we have, how successful it is, that it's the biggest women's sport, I'm so proud to be a part of it. And when you hear stories of how it started, I'm just so grateful to the Original 9 and what they did for women's tennis. It's really so, so special."
Tracy Austin: "It was a really special, dynamic event - to have all the No.1s from the past 40 years in one room was just wonderful. There was so much catching up to do, and it was nice to see the young ones meeting the ones before them. And the story I told about autographs - it's amazing how they can really make a difference in a young kid's life. Evonne Goolagong-Cawley gave me her autograph after I ballgirled for her, and when you get that close to someone, you look up to them. I looked up to Billie Jean King too, though - you can have more than one idol! I did a book report on Billie Jean when I was in fourth grade. It was also amazing how Serena spoke today. It was a wonderful event."
Justine Henin: "I think it's the first time all the former No.1s are all together again, and I'm just honored I can be a small part of the history of the game. Women's tennis has grown so much - what Billie Jean did, nobody can forget that. I don't travel that much anymore, so it was nice to see all these players again, catch up with them and talk about life. It was just a really wonderful event here today."
Manuela Maleeva: "I'm so happy I came. I really wanted to see some people I hadn't seen in many, many years. It's actually my first time coming back to Wimbledon in 17 years, since I retired, and one of my daughters just turned 18 so I thought it would be nice of her to come. And today was great. Women's tennis has become so big - we were already quite professional 20 years ago when the circuit was getting bigger, but it's something even bigger now. It's just a great opportunity now."
Martina Navratilova: "It was absolutely overwhelming today. You see them one by one - though I hadn't seen Justine in a few years, and I hadn't seen Dinara in a few years either. But to see everyone at once was just astonishing. It makes you proud to be a part of it. So many superstars were on that stage. And it was fun to hear everyone telling stories - it was really fun to hear Tracy was a ballgirl for Evonne and Chris, I didn't even know that. But I'm just overwhelmed. It was just great."
Ingrid Bentzer: "I'm not ashamed to say I was very emotional today. I shed a tear or two. All of a sudden it comes back. At the time we never really thought about it, we just had to do it. Now when young players come up to you and thank you, it's a great feeling. This was a wonderful occasion."
Wendy Turnbull: "You have to be really happy with the way everything went today. It was spectacular not only having all of these No.1s, but all of the alumni too. Everyone was just so impressed with everything. It was a great way to celebrate 40 years of the WTA. I was proud to be a part of it. And I'm proud it's the No.1 professional sport for women - and it's still growing. And it's so global - there's no other sport in the world like it. This generation is fantastic too, giving back so much. I'm so proud."
Eugenie Bouchard: "It means a lot. I'm really happy I got invited to this event. It means a lot for women's tennis to see how far we've come in 40 years. I'm proud to be part of something so special.
Madison Keys: "I think it's absolutely amazing. I'm so honored to be a part of it. I really loved watching Kim Clijsters and obviously the Williams sisters. And watching the old tapes I had of Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. It was just amazing to see all of them here today.
"I'm very, very fortunate we had those players 40 years ago who were brave enough to do this for us."