WTA To Celebrate 40th Anniversary In 2013
Published January 24, 2013 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - The WTA will honor its four decades of growth and achievements throughout 2013, with a season-long campaign named 40 LOVE. Following a successful year in 2012 that saw record prize money, tournament attendance and television viewership, in addition to new highs in social and digital media numbers, the WTA will continue to ignite the growth of women's tennis in emerging markets and through a focus on increased fan engagement around the world. Prior to the women's singles semifinals at the Australian Open on Thursday, Tennis Australia honored the WTA's milestone; and later they inducted Judy Dalton, member of the Original 9, into their Hall Of Fame.
Founded by Billie Jean King in 1973, the WTA proudly counts many pioneering accomplishments, including equal prize money. The 40 LOVE campaign will showcase the pioneers of the game and the current stars that all contributed to the ongoing success of women's professional tennis and the WTA.
"Guided by the leadership of Billie Jean King and together with four generations of iconic ambassadors, the WTA is proud to have evolved as the global leader of women's professional sport," WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster said. "The ability to offer more than $100 million in prize money at the WTA's 54 events and four Grand Slams in 33 countries is a testament to those who believed in Billie's vision."
"Having the opportunity to be part of the cherished history and growth of women's professional tennis is very humbling," said former World No.1 Maria Sharapova. "Each week we play for millions of tennis fans around the world, and to see the sport getting even stronger is inspirational to all of us."
To mark its 40th anniversary, the WTA will roll out a multi-faceted marketing campaign, #WTA40LOVE, that will include promotions across its tournaments. This campaign, scheduled to launch prior to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, will feature its players; digital and social media content celebrating the past, present and future of the sport; and a series of events honoring 40 years of the world's leading global sport for women, headlined by a gathering of former No.1s in London, during Wimbledon.
The gathering on Thursday - appropriately, Ladies Day - saw more than 30 WTA greats join Allaster and Tennis Australia President Steve Healy to celebrate 40 LOVE on Rod Laver Arena.
"Today I have been invested with the honour of inducting one of the finest and most passionate members of our tennis family into the Australian Tennis Hall Of Fame," Healy said of Dalton. "Much of what the WTA is today can be traced back to the courage and persistence of Judy and the rest of the Original 9, who famously signed $1 contracts to officially start the first ever professional women's tour."
"Judy kept playing until the age of 40, ultimately retiring in 1977," Healy continued. "But she still stays involved in the sport to this day. For that we are all thankful."