ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Stars from the world of tennis came together to honor the powerful imprint female sporting legends and rising stars have made on the world at the WTA Tennis on the Thames evening reception.
The biggest names in women’s tennis, including Serena Williams, Johanna Konta, Monica Seles, Heather Watson and Garbiñe Muguruza, gathered at London’s iconic Oxo Tower to celebrate the female players who have and are shaping the world through their pioneering spirit and achievements both on and off the court.
LOOK: Tennis on the Thames - Fans mingle with WTA stars
Marking the 45th anniversary of the WTA, guests witnessed the reveal of a ‘Women That Achieve’ photography exhibition, spotlighting players both past and present who have been at the forefront of change in women’s sports throughout the WTA’s history. The exhibition featured inspiring stories from the WTA’s founder Billie Jean King to Serena Williams.
Micky Lawler, President of the WTA, commented, “The Women’s Tennis Association and its players have been a driving force for change in women’s sport for 45 years. Today, we are proud to celebrate the achievements of these great women and share their unique stories that have sparked positive change around the world.”
Reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza commented on the event stating, “I am incredibly proud to be part of the WTA’s Women That Achieve exhibition because it gives me another platform to shine a spotlight on the importance of helping other females around the world.”
As players descended on the purple carpet, WTA paid tribute to the Elena Baltacha Foundation for their commitment to girls from all backgrounds and the opportunity to play tennis. In support of this effort, WTA invited Amie Hunt, a junior member of the Academy to walk the purple carpet with her hero Heather Watson and joined Nino Severino, the late Elena Baltacha’s husband as he accepted a special donation from WTA Charities.
Tonight’s evening reception followed the WTA’s one-day Tennis on the Thames community festival on the South Bank. Throughout the day, fans had the opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive tennis event with WTA stars such as Katie Swan, Victoria Azarenka and CoCo Vandeweghe.
The fun-in-the-sun kicked off on a pop-up tennis court with special guest, Judy Murray, OBE. She and local girls from Wimbledon High School treated fans to a demonstration of Miss-Hits, a fun and friendly tennis program for girls aged five to eight. As the morning heated up, attendees took part in the USANA, The Cellular Nutrition Company’s “Game Set Match” Workout class with WTA’s Samantha Stosur and took home some wellness tips courtesy of the #LIVEUSANA lifestyle guide. Tennis fans also had the rare opportunity to meet former WTA World No.1 Monica Seles, who stopped by Tennis on the Thames to give a special inspirational talk at the WTA Women That Achieve Lunch presented by Dubai Duty Free.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said: “We are very honored to be part of the Tennis on the Thames event, celebrating the achievements of the WTA and its players. Dubai Duty Free is a long-time partner and was one of the first major tournaments to award equal prize money and we’re delighted to be here today with Monica Seles who has been instrumental to the growth of women’s tennis.”
Keeping cool during one of London’s hottest days, locals enjoyed free ice cream at the Häagen-Dazs Champion VS Challenger #LetsPlay battle with tennis star and Häagen-Dazs fan Sloane Stephens. Tennis aficionados enjoyed relaxing on the lawn and watching the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne live on a giant screen as well as checking the stats of their favorite players on the SAP Match Center.
The WTA Tennis on the Thames event saw over 5,000 tennis enthusiasts turn out in force to get a rare opportunity to meet their heroes and immerse themselves in the sport. For those who could not attend, WTA shared all of the action in real-time via their social channels and encouraged fans to join the conversation by following @WTA and #WomenThatAchieve.