Former WTA World No.1 players and International Tennis Hall of Fame members Billie Jean King and Tracy Austin each opened up about the history and current state of the game in online interviews this week.
King, a 12-time Grand Slam singles champion and pioneer of the WTA, appeared alongside former ATP World No.1 and two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray on Thursday as they touched on numerous topics with chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour on CNN International.
WTA Legend King stated that the unscheduled hiatus during the professional tennis tours would be an apt time for the elite athletes to heal themselves in various ways, from resting any lingering physical injuries to meditating in support of their emotional states.
"To think about being the best player you can be, I'm really big about mental, emotional, and physical [together]," said King. "I think the greatest players in the world -- it doesn't matter what generation -- have always been the strongest emotionally."
"I think it's really, really important to have reflection time," King continued. "And, also, what are your new goals? You've got to come out of this, it's going to be different, and you've got to adapt."
Meanwhile, Murray discussed the boon of working with another former WTA World No.1, Amelie Mauresmo, during some of his most fruitful years on tour as an example of the benefits of increasing gender equality at the coaching level.
"Mauresmo was a former World No.1, a Grand Slam champion, fantastic player, extremely qualified to coach," Murray continued, as he also credited Darren Cahill, coach of Simona Halep, for spurring him on even further towards considering women for his coaching positions.
"I started to talk to my mom [Judy] a little bit more about it," added Murray, who worked with both his mother and former Top 10 player Olga Morozova during his junior career. "She's someone who's been inspired by Billie Jean's work, and I started to take more interest in it."
"It gives me chills right now just thinking about it."— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) April 30, 2020
What does it feel like to be inducted into the ITHF? @thetracyaustin puts the magic into words.
We had a great time chatting with Tracy in the latest #HallofFameLive today! Watch now: https://t.co/ewZTjlKijw pic.twitter.com/BdWYohLPNU
A day prior, two-time US Open titlist Austin spoke with commentator Blair Henley via live chat on the International Tennis Hall of Fame's Facebook's page, where the former teenage sensation talked about the past and present of professional tennis and her career as a player and a broadcaster.
Currently, Austin's three grown sons are back in the house during stay-at-home initiatives, and she is enjoying having "everybody at home, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's really been a lot of fun to see them interact as adults. [We] just play games; we started a little mini-garden out back with zucchini and tomatoes, just to do something different."
Austin additionally talked about her time as a teenage prodigy and the pressure that came with being a burgeoning superstar -- which she handled with aplomb, leading to victories at the US Open in 1979 and 1981.
"I think pressure is self-imposed, because it's allowing you to listen to everybody and what they're saying, and then raising your expectations," said Austin. "Those are the goals that I had for myself, so I was always thinking forward. I wasn't looking back and trying to defend something."
"When I would go on the court, I felt so many players were trying to not lose, and that's not the way you can go out and play your best tennis," Austin continued. "You have to go out and think how I'm going to execute, how I'm going to win, how i'm going to battle, and let the chips fall where they may."
Austin also discussed using King, one of her idols, for an elementary school biographical report. "Billie came to our club to do a Wilson commercial when I was in fourth grade," said Austin. "I had pictures with Billie, I had quotes, I had the autograph. I thought this was going to get me the A-plus for sure!"
But Austin laughingly explained that she ended up with an "A-minus, because I didn't indent enough!"