This US Open, as the world’s best tennis players headed out to NYC, they joined us for an intimate conversation with champions who are fueling the business and popularity of women’s professional tennis, both on and off of the court. We tapped into a range of topics from the hardships incurred by top female tennis stars to the rise and successes by president of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), Micky Lawler. From its fearless beginnings led by founder Billie Jean King, to present-day icons like Serena Williams and gender equity challenges that still remain, this intimate chat covered the milestone moments that have shaped the WTA into the leading female pro sports league in the world.
At Break the Love, we believe that sport has always been a catalyst and agent of change in society and tennis has always been one of the first sports to pave the way for equality between men and women both on and off the court. We believe that tennis is an incredible gateway to bring people together to discuss these issues that we are thinking about everyday. At Break the Love, we pride ourselves in providing our player community access to these conversations every season.
On a rainy evening during qualifiers at this year's US Open, in poured Micky Lawler, President of the WTA and some of our favorite WTA players - Vania King, Danielle Collins, and Bethanie Matteks-Sands right on time for our moderator - Caitlin Thompson, founder of Racquet Magazine at The Wing in Dumbo. What seemed to be a gloomy evening lit up with full attendance from Break the Love players eager to hear from some of their favorite women on tour.
Moderator, Caitlin Thompson spent an hour asking each player about the ups and downs of their time on the tour, what each of the players' are focused on off the court, and how far the WTA has come under the leadership of Micky Lawler.
Some tid-bits that we learned:
- Danielle Collins completed college before pursuing a professional tennis career! Many players are typically encouraged to drop out of college in order to pursue a professional career but Collins shares how she defied the odds and pursued a professional career despite what others might have thought. It just goes to show - you might be able to have it all, you just need to have the willpower and mental game to get there.
- Bethanie Matteks-Sands dove into how she revived her career after her Wimbledon injury and has gone on to become one of the top doubles players around both for women's doubles as well as mixed doubles. For those of you who didn't catch it, she even went on to winning the US Open Mixed Doubles final!
- Vania King, former World No.3 went into all of her non-profit work, how she has kept up with tennis and rebuilt her career after facing injury, and how much tennis as a sport has given her in life to the point where she has gone on to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School with Sands this Fall and made it all the way to semi-finals in Women's Doubles this past US Open. Not bad for a comeback!
- Micky Lawler, explains how the WTA is taking active efforts to provide more services to reduce depression and anxiety that many players face on the tour and also explained why and how tennis became the the #1 women's sport in the world.
We finished it off with drinks and bites with our community celebrating the strides that have been made for equality in sport and beyond by tennis.
We are always trying to find ways to make tennis more accessible for players of all genders, socio-economic class, and levels - it is how we got started.
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