With WTA Rising Stars Heather Watson and Donna Vekic among those in attendance, Billie Jean King has been named as an Official Ambassador of the WTA Finals in Singapore.
One of the most respected and influential figures of the modern era, King has long been a champion of social change and equality, empowering women and young girls worldwide. As Official Ambassador of the WTA Finals, she will encourage physical and emotional health for young girls and women throughout the Asia-Pacific region through community youth programs, educational forums and various promotional activities in Singapore.
Having joined fellow greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova as a formal advocate of the WTA’s season finale, King will also be on hand to present the 2014 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore Presented by SC Global singles champion with the Billie Jean King Trophy.
”The vision of every member of the Original 9 women professionals was that any girl, wherever she was born, could grow up to make a living from tennis if she was good enough,” King said. “Holding the WTA Finals in Asia-Pacific for the first time is fantastic proof that our dream is thriving. More than 40 years since the founding of the WTA and the first staging of the WTA Finals, I am thrilled to join Chris and Martina in helping take our showcase event to new heights. We know the fans in Singapore will be inspired by the skill and athleticism of the very best in women’s tennis.”
"This is a historic Finals for the WTA that will drive the growth of women's tennis for the next decade and to have our founder, Billie Jean King, in Singapore to present the coveted Billie Jean King Trophy to the singles winner will be a historic, memorable and exciting moment for the players and fans in Asia-Pacific,” WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster said.
During her storied career King rose to No.1 in the world in both singles and doubles and won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles crowns, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon. Twice victorious in doubles at the season finale, the WTA Finals trophy is named in her honor.
Before founding the WTA in 1973, King was one of nine players who broke away from the tennis establishment in 1970 and accepted $1 contracts from tennis promoter Gladys Heldman, a daring move that is considered the birth of women’s professional tennis. King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in 1973 is still remembered for its affect on society and contribution to the women’s movement, while in 1974, she created the Women’s Sports Foundation and co-founded Mylan World TeamTennis. Among countless other achievements and accolades, in 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.