Billie Jean King is one of the pioneers of women’s tennis.
Her tireless work is part of the reason the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has been successful.
Now King is calling on the WTA to rethink the season’s scheduling.
The professional tennis season is the longest of any sport; it lasts 11 months.
At the end of the season is the WTA Finals for the world’s top eight players and doubles teams.
There is also team play in what used to be called the Fed Cup but is now known as the Billie Jean King Cup.
This year, the WTA Finals selected Cancun as its destination after the BJK Cup had already established Spain as its location.
Why can’t the WTA Finals be this easy? https://t.co/uf37dVrdmN
— PhineMotorSkills (@rdmtennisfan) November 26, 2023
It led to top players like Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula not playing in the BJK Cup.
The travel and logistical issues getting from Mexico to Spain and being prepared to play were the reasons they opted out.
WTA Finals and Billie Jean King Cup scheduling issues. Can the WTA do more to support players representing their country?
— Tennis Weekly Podcast (@tennisweeklypod) October 29, 2023
King believes this is a bad look for the sport that needs to first and foremost take care of its athletes and preserve the integrity of the events.
The ATP, Association of Tennis Professionals, has locked in its location for the ATP Finals for a years-long contract in Italy.
There is none of this last-minute shopping around for a location which is an annual occurrence for the WTA.
Fellow American tennis legend Chris Evert echoes King’s sentiments.
One of my 2024 wishes is that the @WTAFinals gets a great venue that champions, respects and supports women…because the most successful woman’s sport in the world deserves that…❤️💪
— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) November 26, 2023
It is unclear if the WTA will heed the words of King and Evert.
In the meantime, King recently celebrated a milestone birthday.
She turned 80, and she celebrated by hitting tennis balls.
Check it out.
Still got it! 👑😎
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) November 22, 2023