”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,” said Billie Jean King. “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.”
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 perpetual 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.
The WTA Finals was the most-watched WTA event of 2013, setting record broadcast and digital audience milestones with coverage in 170 countries via 50 broadcasters and 1,000 overall hours produced, which includes live matches, match replays, and player highlights. The 2013 WTA Finals set new records for fan engagement earning 15 million more fans across social media during the three years in Istanbul, with more than 150 million reached via #WTAFinals.