The expression on Charlotte Maria’s face said it all.
The 10-year-old budding tennis talent, and daughter of last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria, looked around her in complete wonderment, beaming at the images that told the origin story of the WTA. Billie Jean King then begins to narrate how she and fellow founding members brought the WTA to life, 50 years ago, in June of 1973.
It’s all part of a powerful 50-second video celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the WTA Tour that ends with King asking, “What will you give? How will you change the game? Because we’re just getting started,” as Charlotte looks straight to the camera with a big smile on her face.
Last December, the WTA launched a season-long “Just Starting” campaign marking this special anniversary year, and Friday, King and several founding members reunited at London’s Gloucester Hotel, where they had gathered 50 years ago and unanimously voted to establish the Women’s Tennis Association.
Charlotte, her younger sister and parents were front and center for the celebration, where a packed Cromwell Suite got to listen to King, Rosie Casals, Betty Stove and many other legends recount some precious memories from that historic meeting.
“It means a lot to me to be here, because of her, of Billie Jean King we are here and I think we all need to celebrate this because for the women’s tour, for the WTA tour it’s amazing,” Tatjana Maria told wtatennis.com.
“I think I’ve already played so long on this tour, and my daughter she started to play tennis, so I guess we’re going to stay here a long, long, time. So I think it’s also super important for my daughter to know the story about tennis and to be here today.”
Charlotte is already a familiar face on tour, always spotted hitting on a court somewhere with her mother, even on days when Tatjana is about to play a match.
“I was so proud of her,” Tatjana said of Charlotte’s natural performance on camera for the campaign video.
“She loved it, she was so happy to do it. She’s so happy to be here. She asked me already if everybody will see her video. Because it’s really nice. It makes me super proud that she’s in this video.”
Tatjana was voted Comeback Player of the Year last season as she made a tremendous return to the tour from a second maternity leave.
Last year, a couple of months after winning Bogota, her second career title, the 35-year-old German became the first mother of two this century to reach a Grand Slam semifinal, thanks to her Wimbledon run.
Maria successfully defended her Bogota title this season and arrives at Wimbledon fresh off a runner-up showing in the WTA 125 tournament in Gaiba, Italy.
“Wimbledon was always special for me, but especially after last year it’s something amazing to come back here, to have all these positive feelings,” said Tatjana, who fell to Ons Jabeur in the final four at the All England Club 12 months ago.
“Everybody still recognizes us, we do the same thing like we did last year, we go every morning indoors, we practice with Charlotte, we see everybody again. It makes me super happy. On the other side, it’s like already one year ago but it makes me super happy what happened last year, and I hope I can continue like this this year.”
Tatjana has been a source of inspiration for many mothers on tour as she and her family quickly adapted to life on the circuit, proving it is possible to walk away and have a baby -- more than once -- before coming back to doing what you love.
Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki recently announced her comeback plans after retiring in 2020. Also a mother of two, Wozniacki plans to return to competition in Montreal next month and has received a US Open wild card.
“I’m super happy for her,” Tatjana said.
“I saw her in Roland Garros already. Every day we were indoors practicing with Charlotte and she was over there. So we knew it a little bit that she wants to come back. It’s super nice for the tennis that she comes back. She has two kids now back. And I think this is what we need. We need more moms on the tour and for every mom who is coming back I’m super happy.”
Tatjana Maria begins her Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday against Sorana Cirstea.