Venus and Serena Williams’ Whopping $140,000,000 Earnings Traces Back to a Radical $1 Movement Pioneered by 79-Year-Old Tennis Legend

There was a time when tennis wasn’t as equal as it is today. Before the 1970s, it was the men who almost always walked away with more prize money than the women. However, everything changed in 1973 when the US Open announced that its prize money for both male and female competitors would be equal. The move paid dividends in the long run, especially for the likes of Venus and Serena Williams, who walked away with millions of dollars in prize money.

An article published on the official US Open website took a look at some of the most significant breakthroughs that put women’s tennis at the same level as men’s tennis. The numbers make for a captivating read.

Billie Jean King was the one to kick-start the women’s tennis revolution

In 1970, nine women tennis players (the Original 9) came together to sign a $1 contract that eventually led to the formation of a professional tour exclusively for women. This development marked the origin of the WTA Tour. It was led by none other than women’s tennis veteran Billie Jean King.

According to the article, during the Original 9’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018, King reflected on the photo from 1970, which featured the nine players holding up $1 bills. King said, “You’re going to think we were all smiling, giggly, and happy”. The legend went on to add, “but deep down I think we were all, at least for me personally, I’m going, “This is a real moment of truth for us because we may or may not make it.“”


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