Billie Jean King's Power Hour
Published September 03, 2010 12:00
NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA - Professional tennis players across several generations assembled at the Indoor Hospitality Center at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday for the 13th Annual Billie Jean King Power Hour. This annual event, guided by the founder of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and the Historian of the Tour's mentor program, is a forum for alumnae, veteran and rookie players to meet in an intimate setting to discuss the history, present state and future of women's professional tennis. The theme for this year's gathering was 'A Step Ahead', which encapsulates the past, present and future essence of the Tour - the leading global sport for women.
Billie Jean King began the meeting by sharing her personal, detailed insights on why and how she, the Original 9 and other notable persons in the tennis industry established the Tour in 1973. Fast forward 37 years after the creation of the Tour, the dream of the Original 9 is now a reality that the players on the Tour live day after day. By understanding the history and current state of our game, players at every level of their career walk away with concrete examples on the continual impact women's tennis players make on our game, and on society.
And the game has changed. The Tour continues to expand its horizons, with household named stars and tournaments exciting a growing number fans all over the world, with staff and alumnae/mentors dedicated to support players with the resources, education and services to help them perform both on and off the court; and with never-ending opportunities to acquire sponsorship, provide charity and cause positive social change.
"The more you know about history, the more you know about yourself," King said. "When I wake up in the morning, I want to look in the mirror to see that I am a good person who makes a difference."
Players walked away understanding that while tennis is often perceived as an individual sport, the Tour is a team that can work together and continue to make a difference. Working together drives 'A Step Ahead'.
Players attending included Bojana Jovanovski, Beatrice Capra, Petra Martic, Shelby Rogers, Nicole Gibbs, Sloane Stephens, Simona Halep, Sally Peers, Jennifer Elie, Vladimira Uhlirova, Elena Bovina and Taylor Townsend.
A special thank you to alumnae who made the meeting memorable:
- Martina Navratilova, an icon of our sport who has always been a step ahead in her dedication to our sport, shared some of her invaluable wisdom and perspectives to the group and notably on the importance of recovery as a part of her game-changing fitness regime, and player safety.
- Andrea Jaeger shared her experiences after tennis focusing on her work with the Little Star Foundation - an organization dedicated to helping children affected with cancer.
- Leslie Allen, Melissa Torres, Sandra Reichel and Louise Pleming shared their experiences during the discussion about life after playing on the Tour. As a collective group these individuals have transitioned into a variety of professional roles: Tour Player Board representative, Commentator, Tournament Director, Charitable Foundation Administrator and Professional Tennis Coach.