18842014 • Back in 1884, there were only 2 Grand Slams in Tennis. Wimbledon, the oldest of all the 4 Majors, began in 1877 as the Lawn Tennis Championships. The US Open, the 2nd oldest Major would be born 4 years later in 1881. In the inaugural Wimbledon tournament, only 1 event took place; the Men’s singles which was won by Spencer Gore. •Then in 1884, The All England and Lawn Tennis Club, decided to add 2 further events to the Championships: Ladies' Singles and Gentleman's Doubles. This was done due to Lawn Tennis becoming the club’s main activity. The word ‘Croquet’ by 1884, had been dropped from the club’s official title. Women’s tennis therefore was officially born. *The Times Newspaper reporting on the opening match of the Ladies Championships. According to the paper, “courts were in good condition and attendance was very large.” Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 http://www.history.ac.uk/library/collections/sport-history Wimbledon 1884- Women’s Tennis is Born: continued •The first ever Women’s Singles Championships at Wimbledon, featured as you would expect at the time, a small number of competitors. Only 13 women entered the tournament, with the top prize being a silver flower basket valued at 20 guineas. The runner-up would claim a silver and glass hand-mirror and a silver-backed brush valued at 10 guineas. •The inaugural winner was Britain's Maud Watson, who triumphed in the final over her elder sister Lilian in 3 sets: 6–8, 6–3, 6–3. Wimbledon 1884- Ladies Programme Maud Watson on the left. Lilian on the right. • Six years after the US Tennis Championships was formed, the first U.S National Women’s Singles tournament took place in 1887 in Philadelphia. The inaugural Women’s Singles event was won by American Ellen Hansell who destroyed compatriot Laura Knight 6-1, 6-0. Ellen Hansell The 3rd oldest Major, The French Open started in 1891 with the Women’s singles tournament following six years later in 1897. From 1891-1924, the French Open was only open to French Club members. This rule ceased to exist from 1925, when the tournament became open to international players. The first Women’s French Open National Championship was won by as you’d expect by Adine Masson over fellow Frenchwoman P. Girod: 6-3, 6-1. The baby of all 4 Slams The Australian Open was first played in 1905. It was called the Australasian Championships from 1905-1967. It took a while longer than the other 3 Majors for women to play, but they were finally granted their wish in 1922. The inaugural Women’s tournament was won by Margaret Molesworth, who beat fellow Aussie Esna Boyd Robertson: 6-3, 10-8. Margaret Molesworth Tennis fashion has come along way since the times of the 1880’s, when women were expected to dress sensibly and cover up all of their body. Back in those days, the stars of women’s tennis wore lace-up corsets, court-length skirts, lady-like slippers and even on some occasions, a well-placed fur. But over the decades Women’s fashion has come a long way and nowadays is bursting with colourful, stunning and innovative outfits, led by the fashionista’s of the WTA Tour. It is to be said, that not all of the outfits over the past few years have been met with great acclaim. Other’s have proven to be quite risqué and unusual and left little to the imagination. But if you ask any of the diva’s of the Women’s game, how they look in what they're wearing onto court is very important to them. Some of the most famous and infamous outfits in 130 years of Women’s Tennis include: Venus Williams’ Alice in Wonderland lattice inspired , 2011 Australian open dress. Her 2008 Wimbledon Goddess outfit, 2010 Tina Turner inspired white ruffle dress and her very risqué 2010 lace outfit for the French open. What made that outfit so controversial was that Venus wore near nude pants with it. What makes Venus stand out from the rest is that she has her own clothing line called 11, in which she designs her own tennis dresses. Other players who have an association with a clothing line include Stella McCartney’s muse Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova who designs her own dresses with Nike and Venus’ lil sis Serena Williams who also has her own clothing company called Aneres. (Serena spelt backwards) Serena also has a 40million dollar deal with Nike (signed in 2004), who make her outfits to wear on the WTA Tour. Venus Williams’ Goddess outfit- 2008 Wimbledon But probably the biggest fashionista and fashion icon of Women’s Tennis is World No.1 Serena Williams. Her outfits have been talked about over the years, almost much as her unbelievable, gladiatorial tennis. Some of her most amazing creations include her 2004 US Open biker inspired denim outfit, with which she wore knee-high boots. They were banned by tournament officials. But none of her outfits have been as great, controversial or amazing as her 2002 US Open Lane Bryant black lycra Catsuit. It is widely considered to be the best tennis outfit in the history of the game, as it showed off Serena’s toned and athletic body. Serena Williams Infamous Catsuit2002 US Open •Probably the greatest fight, development and achievement in 130 years of Women’s tennis, is that of equal prize money. For years Billie Jean King, the founder of the WTA Tour protested and fought valiantly with the tennis elite to award equal prize money at all 4 Grand Slams. Her home major, the US Open was actually the first of the big 4 to award equal prize money which it did in 1973. The winner that year was the legendary Margaret Court who won the last of her 24 Grand Slam singles titles over fellow countrywoman Evonne Goolagong Cawley; 7-6 , 5-7, 6-2. Court therefore received exactly the same amount as the men’s singles champion John Newcombe: a hefty $25,000. The Australian Open was the next Grand Slam to offer equal prize money, which it did in 1984. However it temporarily did not between 1996-2000. •The biggest fight that King and her fellow professionals in the Women’s game though faced, was persuading Wimbledon and the French Open of offering equal prize money. Up until February 2007, both Grand Slams still refused to pay Women the same amount as the men in all rounds of both tournaments. The French open though awarded equal prize money just to the winners . •But as they say many hands make light work and if you want to see change, you’ve got to work together to make it happen. •That change came from the equally legendary Venus Williams. At the time in 2006, Venus was a 3 time Wimbledon Champion. Venus in 2005 met with the officials of both Grand Slams, arguing that women should be paid exactly the same as their male counterparts. Despite a courageous effort, Venus’ demands were rejected. Nevertheless Venus had planted a doubt in the minds of the officials and got them thinking about the issue. The turning point in the fight for equal prize money though came on the eve of the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, in which Venus was the defending champion. Venus wrote an open essay published in the Sunday Times, accusing Wimbledon of being on the ”wrong side of history” and that Wimbledon’s message to her was that “she was a 2nd class champion”. •Venus’ essay got public backing from the then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of parliament. The WTA Tour and UNESCO then teamed up for campaign to promote gender equality in sport, headed up by Venus. Soon The Chief Executive of the LTA at the time Roger Draper and the WTA Tour’s then Chairman Larry Scott demanded that both Wimbledon and the French open fall in line as the US and Australian open’s. Amid intense and growing pressure, Wimbledon finally relented in Feb 2007 and decided to award equal prize money for women throughout all rounds. Due to this, the French Open a day later also decided to award equal prize money for female players throughout every round. •Bille Jean King’s and Venus William’s and the rest of the WTA Tour and entire tennis community’s dream, was finally completed. There’s no doubt amongst any fan of Women’s tennis, that the greatest female rivalry in 130 years is that of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Probably the greatest rivalry period in tennis men or women, it defined a generation and the entire WTA Tour. What’s even more rare amongst such fierce competitors, is that they were unbelievably great friends off the court and continue to be to this day. They played a staggering 80 times against this each other over 16 glorious years, with Martina edging it 43 wins to Chrissie’s 37. To put this into context, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe played each other a mere 14 times, Federer and Nadal 33 times and Djokovic and Nadal 42 times. Clay, grass, carpet, hard and indoor, you name it they played on it. In the Grand Slams where it matters the most, Navratilova had the edge over her fierce ‘Ice maiden’ rival. Out of the 14 GS finals they contested, Martina won 10 and Chris 4. Chris was the Queen of clay, winning Roland Garros a record 7 times. Only Rafael Nadal has won more FO titles with 9. Martina was the Queen of grass, winning the greatest tournament on earth Wimbledon, a record 9 times. This is the most of any man or woman in history. Evert would never beat Navratilova in 5 Wimbledon finals they contested. Out of the 4 Roland Garros finals, Evert won 3 and Martina 1. Together they won a remarkable 80 Grand Slam titles. Martina 59 and Chrissie 21. (Singles, Doubles and Mixed combined) All finals: Navratilova 36–25 Grand Slam matches: Navratilova 14–8 Grand Slam finals: Navratilova 10–4 Grand Slam semifinals: Tied 4–4 Non-Grand Slam finals: Tied 19–19 Three-set matches: Evert 16–14 A breakdown of their rivalry But what made their rivalry even more special and amazing, was their enduring, lifelong friendship. So much so, they even shared a bagel whilst waiting to play for the US Open title one time. They were therefore much more than just rivals on a tennis court, they were like sisters. If one thing affected them in their personal life, it would also affect the other. That’s why the Evert-Navratilova rivalry is quite simply the best the sport of tennis has ever seen in its entire history. Described as the first American born woman to achieve international celebrity status as an athlete, Helen Wills Moody was nothing short of an incredible tennis player. During her career she won a remarkable 19 Grand Slam singles titles, 3rd Best all time (best in Pre- Open era). That haul over a 17 year period between 1922-1938 when she retired, included 4 French Open’s, 7 US Open’s and 8 Wimbledon’s, a record which stood until 1990 when Martina Navratilova won her 9th Wimbledon Championship. From 1922-1938, she entered 24 GS’s, winning 19 of them and finishing runner-up 3 times. She also won the Olympic title in singles and Doubles at the Paris Olympic Games of 1924. In total she won 31 GS titles: 19 S, 9 D and 3 Mixed. In her career however, she never played at the Australian Open. Helen Wills Moody They say there’s always a first time for everything, and Maureen Connolly- ‘Little Mo’ will forever be remembered for becoming the first ever female player to achieve the Calendar Year Grand Slam. She achieved this monumental feat in 1953 aged just 18, beating Julie Sampson Haywood in the Australian Open Final and fellow American Doris Hart in the finals of the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. In that record-breaking year, she lost only 1 set in all 4 Grand Slams. She was the 2nd ever tennis player to do the Calendar Slam after compatriot Don Budge became the first ever player to accomplish it in 1938. In all she won 9 GS single majors- 3 Wimbledon’s, 3 US Open’s, 2 French Open’s and 1 AO. She also won the French Open in doubles and Mixed doubles as well as doubles at the Australian Open. Her career however was cut short in 1954, when she had a horse-riding accident. The incident left her with a compound fracture to her right fibula. This ultimately ended her career aged just 19 and she officially retired from the sport in Feb 1955. Her life was to end all too young though, when she tragically died of ovarian cancer on June 21st 1966 aged just 34. Maureen Connolly Brinker Margaret Court Still to this day, one of the greatest records in tennis is yet to be broken. Margaret Court’s all time Grand Slam singles haul of 24 titles has stood for an amazing 41 years. The legendary Australian now a Christian minister, amassed that ridiculous haul in just 13 years from 1960-1973. She won her home major the Australian Open, a record 11 times including 7 consecutive years from 1960-66. This is an all time record at any 1 Grand Slam for most singles titles, man or woman. In fact she’s the only player in history to have double figures for a GS Singles Crown. She won every major at least 3 times, with 5 US Open’s, 5 French Open’s and 3 Wimbledon's. Her total GS collection includes a record 62 titles- an all time record. (24 S, 19 D and 21 Mixed). Finally in 1970 she became the 2nd ever woman and 4th ever player and 2nd player in the Open Era, to complete a Calendar Grand Slam. She beat fellow Aussie Kerry Melville Reid for the AO title, Helga Niessen Masthoff for the French, Billie Jean King for Wimbledon and Rosemary Casals for the Us Open. In fact she also achieved a calendar Grand slam in mixed doubles, twice in 1963 and 1965. She along with Martina Navratilova and Doris Hart are the only players ever to have won a career boxed set of Grand Slams at every major. (S, D and MX at all 4 GS) What’s more is that Court is the only player to have won all the 4 Majors in all 3 disciplines at least twice in her career. If Little Mo Connelly was the first ever woman to do the calendar Grand Slam, then Althea Gibson also achieved another monumental feat. When she won the French open in 1956 aged 28, she became the first person of colour to win a Grand Slam title. A tall, athletic and rangy athlete at 5ft 11, Althea went onto win 5 GS singles titles. 2 Wimbledon, 2 US Opens and a sole FO. She did though reach the final of the Australian Open in 1957. Gibson also won a total of 5 doubles majors and 1 Mixed doubles major. But perhaps her greatest legacy was setting the stone for future African American players such as Lori McNeil, Zina Garrison and of course the Williams Sisters. They all owe Althea a great deal for paving the way for black female tennis stars to flourish in a predominantly white dominated sport. Althea Gibson Steffi Graf Monica Seles The Williams Sisters If Margaret Court won the most GS’s of any male or female player, then there is little doubt amongst tennis enthusiasts that Steffi Graf is quite simply the greatest tennis player of all time, male or female. She came the closest of any player of at least matching or beating Court’s haul of 24 titles, when she amassed an equally stunning 22 majors. Like Court she did it in a relatively short space of time, with Graf managing to win 22 in 12 years from 1987-1999, when she retired from the sport. Among her plethora of records and feats, was her 13 successive GS singles finals, most of any man or woman in history. 31 GS singles finals, 2nd only to Navratilova’s 32 and Evert’s 34. She is the only player in history to have won every major at least 4 times- 4 AO’s, 6 FO’s, 7 Wimbledon's and 5 US Open’s. An all time record man or woman of 377 total weeks on top of the WTA Tour rankings. But her most impressive ever feat came in 1988, when she became the first and still to this day only player to achieve the hardest feat in tennis: The Golden Grand Slam. Steffi in 1988 won the all 4 majors as well as the Olympic singles crown. (Tennis came back into the Olympics after a 64 year break. Graf also won the singles event in Los Angeles 1984, when Tennis was a demonstration sport) She is therefore only 1 of 3 women and 2 men to achieve the mythical Grand Slam. (Graf, Court, Connolly, Don Budge and Rod Laver- who did it twice in 1962 and 69) She again held all 4 majors simultaneously , when she won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 1993 and then the Australian Open in 1994. Monica Seles will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest and grittiest fighters in 130 years Women’s Tennis. The Serbian born American burst onto the tennis scene in 1988 aged 14. A year later in 1989 aged 15, she beat the legendary Chris Evert in the final of Houston to win her first WTA Tour title. Then in 1990 just 16 years old, she really made her mark. Monica known for playing double handed on both sides and her grunting, won her first Major at the French Open beating her great rival Steffi Graf. In doing so she became the youngest ever Women’s singles champion at Roland Garros. From 91-93, she began a two year stretch of total dominance on the WTA Tour. In the 9 Grand Slams she played from 91- 93 Australian open, she won 7 of them. A further 2 French Open’s, 3 consecutive AO’s and 2 US Open’s. In 1992 she reached the final of all 4 majors in 1 season. ( Joining Court, Graf, Navratilova, Hingis, Henin, Evert and Connolly). She was also the only player ever to be the simultaneous holder of 3 consecutive Australian and French Open’s. But her career was tragically cut short, when on April 30th whilst playing in Hamburg, she was stabbed by Gunter Parsche- an obsessed fan of Graf’s. This left Monica mentally scarred and unable to play tennis for the next two years. She bravely returned to tennis in August 1995, winning her first tournament back- the Canadian Open. A month later she would lose in the final of the US Open to Graf in 3 sets. But perhaps her greatest achievement was winning her 4th and last Grand Slam title at the 1996 AO, beating Anke Huber in the final. This would be her only GS win after her stabbing. After this she would only reach 2 more GS Finals, the 1996 US Open again losing to Graf and the French open in 1998 losing to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Seles would go onto play her last competitive match at he French Open in 2003, losing to Nadia Petrova in the first round. However she would officially retire in February 2008. The influence of the William’s Sisters on Women’s Tennis is immense. Prophesised by their father Richard Williams, that my daughters would both be No.1 Grand Slam champions one day, Venus and Serena would go onto usher in a new era of power, Athleticism and dominance never before seen in the history of the Women’s game. More agile, intimidating and hitting the ball harder than anyone before, Venus and Serena would go on to define a generation and become still to this day, the standard bearer for any up and coming young player. Just take a look at their impressive CV’s and you’ll understand the impact they’ve had. Both 5 times Wimbledon champions. Venus a 7 times GS singles winner, Serena a 17. Faced each other in 4 consecutive GS finals in a row from the 2002 to the 2003 AO. This had never been done in tennis history and still hasn’t. Lil Sis Serena won all 4 majors to became the 5th woman after Connolly, Court, Navratilova and Graf, to hold all 4 majors at the same time. Serena is still to this day, the only active player man or woman to have done this feat. In addition to that, they have the two fastest ever serves recorded in tennis. Venus the fastest at 129mph and Serena at 128.6 mph. It will certainly be a very sad day in tennis then when the legendary siblings eventually decide to retire and with it leave a huge void in Women's Tennis, which will be incredibly hard to fill. Billie Jean King The WTA’s Original 9 • It only took a few year years after Tennis turned professional in 1968, for Women to also have their own Tour. Billie Jean King- a legendary player in her own right with 20 Wimbledon titles and 39 GS titles overall, had a vision for all the female players of travelling the world playing tournaments. To put it straight, she envisioned a better and prospering future for Women’s Tennis. • This later would come true in Sep 1970, when a group of 9 players, signed $1 dollar contracts with Gladys Heldman- the publisher of World Tennis Publications.. Those revolutionary 9 women you say included: King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richer, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kirsty Pidegon, Judy Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Julie Heldman. Women’s Professional Tennis was born, but the problem was there were no tournaments for them to play in other than the Grand Slams. That all changed on September 23rd 1970, when the first ever Women’s only event was launched: The Virginia Slims of Houston. This was the opportunity that everyone in Women's’ Tennis (not just the Original 9) so valiantly fought for. •Here’s just a snippet of the many Key milestones in Women’s Tennis: • 1971- The Virginia Slims Series debuts with 19 tournaments- A total purse of $309,100 on offer, Billie Jean King becomes 1st female athlete to cross the six figure mark in a single season. • 1972- The Season-Ending Championships are formed in Boca Raton, with Chris Evert winning the inaugural tournament with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Kerry Melville Reid. •1973- 2 years later, the WTA Tour we know and love is formed. A meeting at the Gloucester Hotel in London before Wimbledon, literally changing the course of history. The US Open immediately after this, offered equal prize money to men and women. •1974- The WTA signed their first ever Television broadcast deal in their history with CBS. •1975- Nov 3rd - Computer Rankings came into force for the first time on the WTA Tour- Chris Evert is the first ever Women’s World No.1, holding the position for 25 weeks. •1976- Chris Evert becomes the first female athlete to cross $1 million in career earnings. • 1980- 7 years after the birth of the WTA Tour, over 250 women were now playing professional tennis. The Tour had grown to 47 global events, with a total of &7.2 million in prize money. • 1982- Martina Navratilova becomes the first ever woman to earn over $1million in a season. •1984- Martina Navratilova receives a $1million bonus from the ITF (International Tennis Federation) for winning the French Open, therefore holding all 4 Grand Slams singles titles at the same time. She won Wimbledon, Us Open and Australian Open in 1983. Martina makes even more history y being the first ever woman to cross the $2million mark in season earnings. This was more than the Men’s World No.1 at the time John McEnroe. The Aussie Open joins the US Open in offering equal prize money for the Women’s event. •1986- Martina would go onto become the 1st player to pass $10 million in career earnings. •1988- Steffi Graf at the age of 19 becomes the first ever player in tennis history and still the only one, to accomplish the mythical Golden Grand Slam. She is thus the holder of all 4 Grand Slam singles Crown and the Olympic Title. (1988, Seoul Olympics) • 1991- Monica Seles becomes only the 2nd player to pass $2million in season earnings. Seles would earn more than men’s leader Stefan Edberg, in both the 91 and 92 seasons. •1997- In March, Martina Hingis becomes youngest ever World No.1, ending Steffi Graf’s record reign of 377 weeks in total. •1998- Steffi Graf wins in Leipzig to surpass Martina Navratilova’s prize money record of $20.3 million •1999- Arguably the greatest ever female player, Steffi Graf retires from tennis. She ends her career with an Open-Era (men or women) record of 22 GS Singles titles and $21,895,277 in career earnings. •2000- Venus Williams becomes the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam singles Title, winning in Wimbledon then the US Open. She also wins the Olympic singles and doubles events (with sis Serena) and the Sydney Millennium Games. Also goes on a 35 match winning streak, which to this day is the longest winning streak by a woman this century. • 2001- The Australian Open returns to equal prize money. The WTA Tour debuts its first ever Middle-Eastern events in Doha and Dubai. •2002- Venus and Serena become the first ever African American women in the Open Era to be the World No.1. Venus accomplishes it first in February, before Serena captures the No. 1 spot from sister Venus by winning Wimbledon. •2003- Serena completes the ‘Serena Slam’ by winning the Australian Open and holding all 4 Slams simultaneously . Kim Clijsters becomes the 1st female athlete to earn $4 million in season earnings. • 2004- Anastasia Myskina-FO, Maria Sharapova-Wimbledon and Svetlana Kuznetsova- US Open, become Russia’s first ever Female Grand Slam champions in singles. • 2005- Sony Ericcson becomes the Tour’s worldwide title sponsor in a groundbreaking $88 million, six year deal. By winning the US Open Series and the US Open, Kim Clijsters earns doubles her prize money with a $2.2 million cheque. At the time it was the single biggest paycheque in Women’s sports. • 2007- Wimbledon and the French Open finally offer equal prize money to the Women. Justine Henin becomes the first woman to earn $5million in a single season. • 2008- Justine Henin becomes trhe first reigning world No. 1 to retire after losing to Dinara Safina in Berlin. A total of 5 women hold the No. 1 ranking- Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Serena and Jankovic. •2009- The WTA Tour’s changes come into effect, with the Roadmap Circuit reforms. Serena Williams becomes first women to earn $6million in a single season. But the year belongs to Kim Clijsters, who completes fairytale comeback out of retirement to win the US Open as a mother, in only her 3rd event back. • 2010- THE WTA celebrates the 40th anniversary of Women’s Professional Tennis. Justine Henin comes out of retirement and quickly reaches the AO Final, losing to Serena Williams in 3 sets. Francesca Schiavone becomes the first Italian Woman to win a GS Singles Crown, with victory at Roland Garros. • 2011- Kim Clijsters finally wins a Grand Slam other than the US Open, by beating China’s Li Na in the Australian open Final. Li Na makes tennis history by becoming China’s and Asia’s first ever Grand Slam singles winner, by winning Roland Garros. Petra Kvitova becomes the first players born in the 90’s to win a GS with victory at Wimbledon. Sam Stosur shocks Serena Williams to capture the US Open title. •2012- Victoria Azarenka wins her maiden GS Singles crown at the Australian Open. Maria Sharapova wins the French for the first time. But the year belongs to Serena Williams who dominates the 2nd half the season, by winning S & D at Wimbledon and the Olympics, Stanford, the US Open and WTA Tour championships for the 3rd time. By winning the Olympic Singles title, she joins Steffi Graf in completing a Career Golden Slam. Serena and Azarenka become first female players to earn over $7million in 1 season. •2013- The WTA Tour celebrates its 40th anniversary, with its 40 love campaign. Serena Williams matches Roger Federer’s record of 17 GS titles by winning Roland Garros and US Open. She wins a tour leading 11 titles. (most since Hingis 12 in 1997). Wins a record $12,385,572 3rd highest all time men or women. • After 130 years of glorious Women’s Tennis, the WTA Tour is at the forefront of Women’s Professional Sport. Women’s tennis has become so big and popular, that it is arguably the most equal sport for women to play in. It’s also the richest, with more prize money for women in any other sport. Just ask current World No.1 Serena Williams who as of date has earned a staggering $56,082,185, and that’s just in on-court earnings. Only Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have earned more than Serena in their careers. • Women’s Tennis in its 130 year history, has had to overcome a lot in its vision to establish a better future for its players. The fight for equal prize money and for their own tour, being their 2 greatest accomplishments. The WTA Tour nowadays is going from strength to strength. Led by their brilliant and enigmatic leader CEO Stacey Allister, the WTA is the global leader in Women’s Professional sport with more than 2,500 players representing 92 countries. All in all they are competing at 58 events (2014) and playing for over a record $118 million. In 2013 near to 5.4 million people attended women’s tennis events around the globe, with millions more glued to their screens. For 2014, Women’s Tennis will get a whole lot bigger when the WTA Tour Championships will be hosted in Singapore for the first time. The Asian city will host the prestigious tournament for 5 years from 2014-2018 and will be the biggest staging of the Year-ending Championships by the WTA Tour. For the first time in the event’s history, the 8 best doubles teams (before it was 4) will join the 8 best singles players of 2014 in pursuit of a record $6.5 million. The extravaganza will feature a whole host of new events including: WTA future Stars, WTA Legends exhibitions matches, concerts, coaches and trade symposiums. • Once the likes of the Williams Sisters, Maria Sharapova and Li Na decide to hang up their racquets, the WTA Tour isn’t short of talent to breathe new life into it. There are spectacular up and coming rising stars such as: Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Eugenie Bouchard, Alja Tomljanovic, Heather Watson, Elina Svitolina, Taylor Townsend, Laura Robson, Ashleigh Barty, Jamie Hampton, Sloane Stephens, Belinda Bencic, Donna Vekic and many more. I think we can safely say that Women’s Tennis will be pretty fine in their capable hands as they all have very bright future ahead of them. • What about adding new innovations and stuff for the next 130 years of Women’s Tennis? • Well I propose that one day, that the Women’s Singles SF’s and Finals at all 4 Grand Slams be best of five sets. • Possible new tournaments for the future in Shanghai, Gstaad, Munich, Las Vegas, Queens-London and São Paulo • For Women’s Tennis to have their own Masters 1,000 Series. 1,000 tournaments should be Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Montreal/Toronto, Cincinnati and Beijing. • That is why I honestly think that the Tennis World and where it all started 130 years ago at Wimbledon, should celebrate and embrace Women’s Tennis for what it is: A brilliant and great institution that has made great strides for female players and women’s sport in general and one that should be proud of itself and everything that it has accomplished in the last 130 years. • Here’s to another 130 years of Women’s Tennis!