The Fed Cup is all set to change its name to Billie Jean King Cup announced The International Tennis Federation. Billie Jean King is a former World number one professional tennis player who always stood up for equality and social justice. Fed Cup was  launched in 1963. It is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis.

The officials said, “The Billie Jean King Cup will become the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.” The official Twitter page of Fed Cup has also been re-named.

Billie, the 75 years old former tennis player, said, “I’m still in shock. It’s really a privilege, and it’s also a responsibility. It’ wild, it’s great, it’s wonderful.”

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Billie Jean King’s Contribution Towards Tennis

King is a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association. Her efforts made possible some of the multi-million dollar endorsements and prize funds that are now enjoyed by some top women players. She, along with some of her former peers, risked their careers to start the Virginia Slims tour. In 1973, their work led to the creation of the Women’s Tennis Association as the organising body for women’s professional tennis.

In 1967, King criticised the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in many press conferences, where she called the USLTA’s practice of “shamateurism”, wherein the top tennis players were paid under the table to guarantee their entry into different tennis tournaments. King argued that this was corrupt and kept the tennis game highly elitist.

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King even campaigned for equal prize money in the men’s and women’s games. In 1971, her former husband, Larry King gave her the idea to form a nine tennis player women’s group with the financial backing of World Tennis magazine founder, Gladys and the sponsorship of Virginia Slims chairman Joe Cullaman. She became the first woman athlete to earn over US$100,000 in prize money. In 1972, when she won the US Open, she received US$15,000 less than the men’s champion. She told them that she would not play next year if the prize money were not equal. In 1973, the US Open became the first major tennis tournament to offer equal prize money for men and women because of Billie’s efforts. She is a member of the Board of Honorary Trustees of the Sports Museum of America. In 1973, she became the first President of the women’s players union, i.e. the Women’s Tennis Association.

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Billie Jean King’s Honours

Billie has won 39 Grand Slams titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She has also represented the US in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup and was even a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups.

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Khushi Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

 

 

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