Billie Jean King established the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973. It is the central organizing body of professional women’s tennis. It oversees the WTA Tour which is an international professional tennis tour for women. This body is to care and nurture a better future for women’s tennis. The WTA’s corporate headquarters are in Florida, with its main European offices in London and its Asia-Pacific ones in Beijing.
The 2018 WTA T
The Women’s Tennis Association: How It All Started
The Open Era in 1968, allowed professional players to compete beside amateurs. British Hard-Court Championships held in Bournemouth was the first Open Tournament. At the first Open Wimbledon, the prize money was in favor of men in ratio 2.5:1. Billie Jean King earned £750 for winning the title, while Rod Laver won £2,000. The total purses of both competitions were £14,800 for men and £5,680 for women. Hence, the tournaments that were not able to provide prize money gradually faded out of the calendar.
In 1970, Margaret Court won the Grand Slam. But she only got a $15,000 bonus, while the men could obtain up to $1 million. The low point in inequality of women’s pay in WTA Tennis came right before the US Open of 1970. The Pacific Southwest Championships managed by Jack Kramer announced a heart-dropping 12:1 ratio in the prize money difference between males and females. The tournament did not take place until after the US Open. However, several female players contacted Gladys Heldman, publisher of World Tennis Magazine, and stated that they wanted to boycott the event. While she advised against it, she then created the 1970 Houston Women’s Invitation for nine women players.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) organized the WTA Tour, a worldwide WTA Tennis tour for women. The second-level tour is the WTA 125K series and the third-tier in the ITF Women’s Circuit.
The WTA Tennis tour comprises of 4 Grand Slam tournaments, year-ending WTA Tour Championships, 20 Premier tournaments, and International tournaments. In the international ones, there are 32 tournaments, with prize money for all except four events at US$250,000. The exceptions being the Shenzhen Open, Moscow River Cup, and the Tianjin Open, each with prize money of US$750,000. The year-ending WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai which has the prize money of US$2.3 million was also a notable exception.