So the I Like Optometry And Guitars And Maybe 3 People Shirt But I will love this Original Nine founding their own tour was less about an entrepreneurial spirit and more about simple self-preservation? Let’s put it this way: Rod Laver wins Wimbledon and is paid 2,000 British pounds. I won and was paid $750. I was not happy. And pretty soon, tournaments were dropping women’s events—and if they did have them, the prize money was an eight-to-one ratio. Things were going south really fast. And Gladys Heldman, the publisher of World Tennis magazine, started helping Rosie Casals and Nancy Richey and I, and eventually a few more of us. We ended up signing with her for $1 before a tournament at the Houston Racquet Club, which was the formation of the Original Nine [in addition to King, Casals, and Richey: Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, and Valerie Ziegenfuss] and the birth of professional women’s tennis. Our 50th anniversary is this year. Today, nine out of 10 of the top earners in women’s sports are tennis players. The reason Serena makes all that money, the reason we have a WTA Tour or a WTA at all—everything goes back to that moment. We were willing to give up our careers—we crossed that line in the sand where we knew that we may never have played again. And we didn’t care—we decided that we were going to go for it. And every time today that a woman gets a check, we feel proud.
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Did you have a plan after that one-dollar payday, or were you just winging it? The three things we wanted were: One, that any girl born anywhere in this world, if she’s good enough, would have a place to play and compete; two, that she be appreciated for her accomplishments; and, third, that she’d be able to make a living at doing what she loved. Men grow up knowing this and have always understood this. Girls have to do the I Like Optometry And Guitars And Maybe 3 People Shirt But I will love this same.