Highlights for this AMAZING event on Semi-Finals night at the Family Circle Cup included:
– Original 9 Reunion
– Stadium Court Dedication to Billie Jean King
– Star-Studded Tennis Exhibition with
Coaches: Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade
Players: Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Martina Hingis, Rennae Stubbs, John McEnroe, Aaron Krickstein
Nikki Haley, Governor, South Carolina, Stacey Allaster, CEO, Women’s Tennis Association, and several representatives from Dove will be present to recognize the Family Circle Cup and the Original 9.
In September 1970, the birth of women’s professional tennis was launched when nine female tennis players signed $1 contracts with World Tennis publications publisher Gladys Heldman to compete in what would become the Virginia Slims Series. The Original 9, as they were called, included Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville Reid, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Tegart Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss and Julie Heldman. They have previously reunited in 1980 (US Open, NYC), 1986 (Virginia Slims Championships, NYC), and 1989 (Slims of Houston, TX).
Additional 40Love honorees will include Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, the first employee and director of the WTA in 1973, a direct contributor to the creation of the Title IX amendment, and International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee. Kellmeyer currently serves as WTA Operations Executive Consultant. She is also a member of the ITF Fed Cup Committee and oversees the WTA’s alumni program to ensure that past players and tournament directors remain engaged with the WTA that they helped build. During Kellmeyer’s tenure, prize money on the WTA has increased from $309,000 in 1973 to more than $90,000,000 in 2012, and the number of WTA events has increased from 23 domestic tournaments to 53 events in 33 different countries.
“The WTA has been extremely fortunate to have the Family Circle Cup as its partner for 40 years and I congratulate them on running one of our most prestigious events,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. “We are excited to celebrate Family Circle Cup’s landmark anniversary along with the reunion of our Original 9 trailblazers. These amazing champions helped shape women’s professional tennis into the number one professional sport for women and it is wonderful to bring them all back together to celebrate the historic achievements of the past 40 years at the Family Circle Cup.”
“Women’s tennis is about more than serving up exciting match play,” said Rob Candelino, Vice President, Brand Building, for Unilever Skincare. “Dove® believes that when girls see positive female role models in action at the Family Circle Cup, it helps expand their definition of beauty and builds their self-esteem to better equip them to become future leaders. Our brand and the Family Circle Cup have a shared commitment to helping women and girls reach their full potential, on and off the court.”