Founded by Billie Jean King in 1973 on the principle of equal opportunity, the WTA is the global leader in women’s professional sports. The WTA is one of the world’s most recognizable and high-profile sports organizations, consisting of more than 1650 players representing approximately 85 nations, all competing to earn WTA rankings points and prestigious tournament titles. The WTA Tour comprises of over 50 events and four Grand Slams, spanning six continents and nearly 30 countries and regions with a global audience of over 700 million. The Tour culminates with the WTA Finals, honoring the season’s top singles and doubles players based on the final standings of the Race to WTA Finals leaderboard. Further information on the WTA can be found at

Billie Jean King and her group of eight other renegades were revolutionary by 1970s standards. A full two years ahead of the passage of Title IX in the United States, they envisioned a better future for women's tennis.

In September 1970, the birth of women's professional tennis was launched when nine players signed $1 contracts with World Tennis publisher Gladys Heldman to compete in a new women's tour, the Virginia Slims Series. The Original 9, as they were called, included Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Julie Heldman.

Heldman, along with her friend Joe Cullman from Philip Morris and several others, provided women's professional tennis the opportunity the Original 9 and so many others sought. The inaugural $7,500 Virginia Slims of Houston was established on September 23, 1970 and it was the event that became the groundbreaker for all others.

  • 1971: The Virginia Slims Series debuts with 19 tournaments, with a total purse of $309,100 on offer in the United States. Billie Jean King becomes the first female athlete to cross the six-figure mark in season earnings.

  • 1973: Billie Jean King founds the Women's Tennis Association, uniting all of women's professional tennis in one tour. The WTA was born out of a meeting of more than 60 players held in a room at the Gloucester Hotel in London the week before Wimbledon. The US Open, for the first time, offered equal prize money to men and women. Weeks later, King stuns Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes at the Houston Astrodome.

  • 1974: The computerized ranking era begins with Chris Evert installed as the WTA's first official world No.1 on November 3, 1975.

  • 1976: Colgate assumes sponsorship of tour events from April to November for four years, while Evert becomes the first female athlete to pass $1 million in career earnings.

  • 1977: New York's Madison Square Garden hosts the Virginia Slims Championships for the first time.

  • 1979: Avon, replacing Virginia Slims as winter circuit sponsor, offers a record $100,000 to the winner of the Avon Circuit Championship.

  • 1980: By now more than 250 women are playing professionally all over the world in a tour consisting of 47 global events, offering a total $7.2 million in prize money.

  • 1982: Martina Navratilova becomes the first woman to earn over $1 million in a season.

  • 1983: Virginia Slims returns, replacing Avon and Toyota, who replaced Colgate in 1981, to sponsor the first unified Circuit of more than $10 million. King brings an end to her illustrious singles career, but occasionally plays doubles until 1990.

  • 1984: Navratilova receives a $1 million bonus from the ITF for winning Roland Garros and thus holding all four Grand Slam singles crowns at the same time; she also crosses the $2 million mark in season earnings, more than men's No.1 John McEnroe. The Australian Open joined the US Open in offering the women's event equal prize money (temporarily did not between 1996-2000).

  • 1986: Navratilova passes $10 million in career earnings.

  • 1988: Steffi Graf becomes the second woman in the Open Era, after Margaret Court, to complete a calendar year Grand Slam - and makes it a 'Golden Grand Slam' by winning the Olympic title in Seoul.

  • 1990: The tour's prize purse increases to $23 million with new sponsor Kraft General Foods, and concludes the season at Madison Square Garden, in New York, with the first-ever $1 million tournament in women's sports. Navratilova wins a record ninth Wimbledon singles title.

  • 1992: For the second year in a row, the dominating Monica Seles earns more than the top men's prize money leader, Stefan Edberg.

  • 1995: The WTA Players Association merges with the Women's Tennis Council to form the WTA Tour, and following Monica Seles' inspiring return to the sport in the summer, the season concludes with a new title sponsor - software company Corel.

  • 1997: On March 30, Martina Hingis becomes the fastest player ever to win $1 million in a season and a day later became the youngest-ever world No.1, ending Graf's record reign (for men and women) of 377 total weeks.

  • 1999: After 17 years, Graf retires from the tour with 22 Grand Slam singles titles and a record $21,895,277 in career earnings.

  • 2000: Sanex bodycare products comes on board as the Tour's title sponsor for three years. After 22 consecutive years, Madison Square Garden hosts its last season-ending WTA Championships.

  • 2001: The Australian Open restores equal prize money, while overall Tour prize money increases to $50 million in 63 events, including the first-ever Middle Eastern Tour events in Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE. Munich hosts the season-ending Championships.

  • 2002: The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, fulfill their father's prophecy by becoming the No.1 players in the world - first Venus in February, then Serena in July. Serena wins three majors, defeating her older sister in each final. Los Angeles hosts the season-ending Championships for the first time since 1976.

  • 2003: Serena Williams wins the Australian Open to complete the 'Serena Slam' while Kim Clijsters becomes the first female athlete to earn $4 million in season earnings.

  • 2004: Dubai Duty Free becomes Presenting Sponsor of the Middle East/Asia-Pacific region, while Anastasia Myskina, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova lift Russia's first Grand Slam singles titles.

  • 2005: Sony Ericsson becomes the Tour's worldwide title sponsor in a landmark $88 million, six-year deal, the largest and most comprehensive sponsorship in the history of tennis and of women's professional sport. As winner of the US Open Series, Kim Clijsters earns double prize money for winning the US Open; her $2.2 million prize cheque was the single biggest payday in women's sports and in any official tennis event, men's or women's.

  • 2006: Game-changing innovations designed to make the sport more fan-friendly and interactive include electronic line-calling and on-court coaching. Navratilova ends her 32-year career in which she amassed more titles than any other female or male player.

  • 2007: The historic achievement of equal prize money at Roland Garros and Wimbledon means that following a 30-year campaign, all four majors offer parity for the first time. After two successful years in Madrid, the tour announces the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships will move to Doha, Qatar for 2008-2010.

  • 2008: Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the WTA opens its first Asia-Pacific headquarters in Beijing, China, complementing existing offices in St Petersburg, Florida and London, England. Justine Henin becomes the first player to retire while ranked No.1 in the world, while a record five different women hold the No.1 ranking during the season (Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Jankovic, S.Williams). Doha, Qatar makes a successful debut as host of the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships.

  • 2009: The sweeping Roadmap circuit reforms come into effect, heralding a shorter season, more fan-friendly structure and a 40 per cent increase in prize money. Clijsters storms out of retirement to win the US Open in only her third tournament back, while Serena Williams becomes the first woman to earn more than $6 million in a single season.

  • 2010: 40 years on from the revolutionary Virginia Slims event at Houston in September 1970, prize money has increased to $85 million.

  • 2011: China's Li Na becomes the first player from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title, at Roland Garros. For the first time in WTA history, 10 different nations are represented in the world's Top 10 rankings. The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships make a successful debut in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • 2012: Sharapova captures her first Roland Garros title to become the sixth woman in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam. Serena Williams defeats Sharapova to seal her career Golden Slam with gold at the London Olympics. For the first time since the 1980s, all nine members of the trailblazing Original 9 are reunited during the Family Circle Cup in Charleston.

  • 2013: The WTA celebrates four decades of growth and achievement since the organization's founding with a season-long campaign named 40 LOVE, showcasing the pioneers and the current stars of the game. With players competing for a record-setting $118 million in prize money, 25 players finish the year with at least $1 million in prize money.

  • 2014: Singapore becomes the first city in Asia Pacific (ninth city overall) to host the season finale - the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. For the first time, the competition's format includes representatives from the past (Legends Classic), the present and the future (Rising Stars Invitational and Future Stars). Serena Williams lifts the Billie Jean King Trophy for the third consecutive year, while Cara Black and Sania Mirza hoist the new Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy.

  • 2015: Serena Williams pockets her 21st major title (and second 'Serena Slam') at Wimbledon, but Roberta Vinci thwarts a calendar year Grand Slam at the US Open before falling to Flavia Pennetta in the first all-Italian Slam final. Meantime, Venus Williams returns to the Top 10 for the first time in almost five years by winning the new WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China and Hingis burnishes her doubles comeback with titles at Wimbledon, the US Open and WTA Finals partnering Mirza - the first Indian woman to hold a WTA No.1 ranking.

  • 2016: The WTA heralds a new World No.1 after Angelique Kerber captures her first Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and US Open. The German’s ascent ends Serena’s three year reign in the top spot, but the American continues to rewrite the history books: by winning her 22nd Grand Slam title at Wimbledon she joins Graf for most majors won in the Open Era. Elsewhere, surprise champions rule with Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig winning her country’s first gold medal at the Rio Olympics, and Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova storming to victory at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

  • 2017: The 2017 season started with a record-setting performance as Serena Williams won her 23rd career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, setting the Open Era record for most Grand Slam singles titles. A total of 43 different players won titles in 2017, including nine different players winning the nine biggest events of 2017 across the Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory events and WTA Finals. As a result, five different players held the WTA World No.1 Ranking during the season including first time No.1s Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza and eventual year-end No.1 Simona Halep.

  • 2018: Four different players captured the Grand Slam singles titles, including three first-time winners – Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open), Simona Halep (Roland Garros) and Naomi Osaka (US Open). A record six players took home more than $5 million in prize earnings as the overall prize money reached $139 million. The 2018 season marked the final chapter for Singapore as the host of the year-end WTA Finals as Elina Svitolina took home the Billie Jean King Trophy. 

  • 2019: The WTA Finals began its 10-year residency in new host city Shenzhen, China with Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido on board as title sponsor. The event offered record-setting prize money of $14 million overall – singles champion Ashleigh Barty taking home $4.42 million, the largest prize money earnings in professional tennis history. Also triumphant at Roland Garros, Barty is one of the season’s two maiden Grand Slam champions, along with Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, who captured the US Open title. 

  • 2020: Despite a five-month stoppage due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season saw the continued emergence of the tour’s young stars. Sofia Kenin won the Australian Open to become the youngest American Slam champion since Serena Williams, while 19-year-old Iga Swiatek became Poland’s first major champion after winning Roland Garros. Not to be outdone, Naomi Osaka won her third major in as many years, capturing her second US Open. In a year that saw 24 tournaments played, Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka led the tour with three titles apiece and Ashleigh Barty retained her No.1 ranking from wire-to-wire. In December, the WTA introduced a new corporate identity, redefining the organization’s strength as a collective unit of inspiring athletes and tournaments. The Tour also revealed a new ‘WTA For The Game’ campaign, the WTA’s first logo redesign in 10 years, along with the announcement of a simplified numerical naming system for WTA tournaments - WTA 1000, WTA 500 and WTA 250.

  • 2021: The 2021 season saw four different Grand Slam champions crowned – Naomi Osaka (Australian Open), Barbora Krejcikova (Roland Garros), Ashleigh Barty (Wimbledon) and Emma Raducanu (US Open). Barty would hold the WTA World No.1 ranking for the entire year as she added a pair of WTA 1000 titles by winning at Miami and Cincinnati, while also adding titles at Melbourne 500 [Yarra Valley] and Stuttgart. With five titles to her credit, Barty earned Player of the Year honors. The WTA Finals relocated to Guadalajara and Garbiñe Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to win the title at the year-end event. The WTA also established tennis as a more united sport by formally integrating marketing departments with the ATP.  As a result, 2021 saw a first-ever joint commercial deal with e-learning platform TopCourt, a joint partnership with mobile game Tennis Clash and a second season of the digital series entitled Tennis United: CrossCourt. Continuing to innovate the game, the WTA also welcomed a new global technology partnership with wearables company, WHOOP and its first authorized gaming operator, FanDuel.

  • 2022: The 2022 season started with the United Cup making its debut, an international WTA and ATP combined event featuring teams from 18 countries competing for the title. On the court, World No.1 Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement in late March, paving the way for new World No.1 Iga Swiatek to take over the World No.1 ranking, a distinction she would hold for the remainder of the year. American teenager Coco Gauff would make her Top 10 debut after reaching the Roland Garros final, as the youngest to grace the Top 10 in nearly 16 years. Later in the year, in September, legend Serena Williams announced her retirement after an illustrious career that was highlighted by winning 73 singles titles, including 23 Grand Slams, while spending 319 weeks as WTA World No.1 along with a lengthy list of accolades.  The 2022 season concluded with the WTA Finals staged in Fort Worth, Texas, with Caroline Garcia capturing the Billie Jean King Trophy. In March the WTA announced the largest global sponsorship in WTA history with a multi-year alliance with a medical technology leader, becoming the Hologic WTA Tour. With a shared vision of greater wellness and equality for women, the partnership expanded health resources for WTA athletes and elevated fundraising for the WTA Foundation’s Acing Cancer program. Further innovations to the sport included the launch of the joint mobile app called ATP WTA Live, providing interactive scores, stats and content for fans and the Coach Inclusion Program which aims to create opportunities for women pursuing coaching at the Tour level.

  • 2023: Celebrating its 50th anniversary with the WTA 50: Just Starting campaign, the WTA delivered an exhilarating season featuring 39 different singles champions. While paying homage to its founding members and influential milestones, the year also saw emerging talents and intense rivalries. Iga Swiatek's six-title performance, Elina Svitolina's comeback, and Coco Gauff's rise were standout moments of the season, drawing a year-end record global audience of over 1 billion. Beyond on-court action, the WTA solidified its dominance in women's sports with double-digit revenue growth and investments from CVC Capital Partners and Morgan Stanley. Core innovations included the launch of WTA Ventures, a groundbreaking commercial arm of the WTA, a $400M roadmap targeting equal pay by 2033, and innovative event formats aimed at enhancing media exposure and fan engagement. Other notable programs included the debut of Netflix’s docuseries, BreakPoint, a newly established Hologic WTA Women’s Health Taskforce, and new online abuse protection services for players.