WTA To Celebrate Billie Jean King, 40th Anniversary With Event At Wimbledon
Equal opportunity laws in the U.S. were still two years away when BILLIE JEAN KING "barricaded 63 of her colleagues in a room at the Gloucester Hotel in London and emerged triumphantly waving legal papers that led to the formation of the Women's Tennis Association 40 years ago," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The WTA has announced plans for more than 20 of the 23 women who have since been ranked No. 1 "to gather at a glitzy event on the middle weekend of Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, to commemorate what became not only a seminal sporting moment but a key staging post in the battle for equality." King said, "What started as a few women and a dollar has grown to thousands, living the dream -- our dream. We were athletes who wanted to compete -- and along the way we made history, determined to win, not just for ourselves, but for women everywhere." WTA CEO STACEY ALLASTER said, "If we hadn't had Billie, our sport wouldn't be where it is today. She was the catalyst, the dreamer, the person who said 'we will do this and we will be successful.' She is as active today in the WTA as she was in 1973" (GUARDIAN, 6/19).