Beverly Brokaw

Guest Blog:
Beverly Brokaw

It seems appropriate that the first day of the US Open is also Women’s Equality Day because so many pioneers in women’s sports have come from the world of professional tennis. Their impact goes well beyond the court and reverberates throughout society. From Billie Jean King to Serena Williams, we have seen the kind of power strong women have in changing perceptions. Tennis is one of the few sports that has proven to be a real equalizer.

Remember the famous challenge match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs dubbed “the Battle of the Sexes?” The male chauvinist boldly proclaimed to the world that he could beat any of the top female tennis players. After Margert Court was unable to beat him, Billie Jean King bravely accepted his challenge. His confidence was evident when he eagerly predicted, “I’ll tell you why I’ll win. She’s a woman and they don’t have the emotional stability.”

Riggs created quite a stir and the buzz was palpable. An estimated 90 million viewers tuned in worldwide. When King defeated Riggs in three sets, she took one small step for women’s tennis and one giant leap for equality.

Billie Jean King and others paved the way for contemporary stars like Serena Williams, who will go down in the history books as one of the greatest tennis players, period. No qualifying adjective needed. Her incredible performances on and off the court have inspired a whole generation of young girls to take up the racket and to dare to dream that the impossible can happen for them.

Williams makes her debut in the 2019 Open tonight against a long-time rival, Maria Sharapova. The impressive line-up on the fascinating women’s side includes up-and-comer Naomi Osaka who halted Williams quest for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title a year ago and is currently ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association.

With a dynamic game and diverse talent pool, women’s tennis often outdraws the men. reported that the 2018 US Open women’s final attracted 50% more TV viewers than the men’s final. So, on Women’s Equality Day, enjoy the US Open and remember that the play on the court is far from the only meaningful impact of women’s tennis. Young girls from all corners of society can tune in and SeeHer working hard and achieving her goals on a global stage.