American tennis legend Billie Jean King recently spoke about the revamped Fed Cup format and that tennis remains the leader in the battle for equality for women’s sport. She was present at the Fed Cup draw which is set to launch a new chapter.
Twelve nations featuring many of the world’s top women players will play the week-long event boasting $18 million (13.90 million pounds) in prize money. “This is an unbelievable opportunity for the next three years,” the 76-year-old King, a Fed Cup Global Ambassador, told Reuters by telephone after the draw ceremony.
“It makes me very proud that women’s tennis is showing that it’s still the leader in women’s sports. That means a lot to me, se we must continue to be that”. Speaking about the Fed Cup during their times and the new format, she added, “But I was desperate to have our name first on the trophy.
That first Fed Cup featured 16 nations, total. This year 116 started out. That gives you a measure of the huge growth”. “And the new format? It’s huge. The players wanted one less week in the calendar, they got that.
And they wanted more money, and the ITF came up with the money. It’s equal with Davis Cup which is a very important message because the ITF has really basically governed themselves to have equality, to make sure they are fighting for equality.
They are not just talking, they are showing”. Tennis is leading the way in the battle for equality for women’s sport, “We need all women’s sport thriving. Baseball is 150 years old, NFL is a 100 years old and NHL is 100 years old this year, and there’s no women’s leagues!
That’s another thing on my brain to try and figure out”. “We took our stance 50 years ago. We were going to get suspended. We didn’t know what would happen to us but we fought like crazy for three things: to have a place to compete, to be appreciated for accomplishments, not just looks, and to make a living”. “That was the dream for future generations and they are living it now”.