Alumnae Reunion Held in Indian Wells
Published March 14, 2009 12:00
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - A special celebration honoring former players and friends of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour took place at Indian Wells on Saturday night. The first of its kind Alumnae Reunion Celebration featured more than 100 guests - double the amount anticipated - for an evening of cocktails, food, fun and reminiscing.
Notable names attending the unique event included former player Pam Shriver, who acted as emcee; fellow ex-players Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport, Rosie Casals, Mima Jausovec and Mary Joe Fernandez; Tour Chairman and CEO Larry Scott; Bud Collins, world famous tennis journalist; former president Diane Desfor Stadler; former player and current VP of Sales for the BNP Paribas Open, Peggy Michel; and Player Board Representative Lisa Grattan.
Casals and King both gave speeches, including King honoring Collins as the reporter most interested in women's tennis and truly promoting it. The event also reflected on the progress made by women's tennis since the 1970s, the recent acquisition of equal prize money at the Grand Slams a centerpiece of that conversation. And proceedings actually began earlier in the day, as some guests were treated to BNP Paribas Open matches via a hospitality suite.
"Tonight, the Tour started a great new tradition in uniting amazing women who have played an integral role in writing the history of the Tour," said Scott in his opening speech. "Through the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Alumnae & Friends Program, we look forward to strengthening the Tour's relationship with former players and friends of the Tour and reuniting the group at various functions throughout the year. I'm glad so many of you were able to make it here."
"I love the history of our sport and as I look around and see generations coming together, it is clear the history is alive," said King in her opening speech. "Tonight we are here to celebrate. Celebrate our accomplishments, celebrate the Tour's current success, and of course, celebrate its bright future, which now includes the establishment of the Tour Alumnae & Friends Program. This is a welcome addition to an association that is continually evolving. Let us continue the fun, reconnect with friends and celebrate all that has been achieved over the last 35 years."
Two editions of the Tour's Alumnae newsletter "Legend" were put out earlier this year, and future reunion celebrations have already been scheduled for 2009.