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WTA: Fight for Equal Pay

08.05.2019. by Mia Bednaž

WTA: Fight for Equal Pay

‘Croatia Bol Open? Is it a men and women tournament, or only women?’, ‘Croatia Bol Ladies Open?’, some of the questions we are facing from time to time while organising WTA Croatia Bol Open. Don’t get us wrong, we are happy that people are interested in our tournament and that we have the opportunity to educate them. Are just getting into tennis, or you would like to learn more? Let us begin with the basics: WTA!

Croatia Bol Open is part of WTA 125K series so that means it’s a part of Women Tennis Association circuit. WTA was founded in June 1973, so while our Bol Open will take place, WTA will celebrate its 47th birthday. It was founded by legendary Billie Jean King, American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. Fourteen years later, she was admitted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. However, she wasn’t all alone while setting up the foundations for WTA. By her side were Heldman, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Dalton, Kristy Pigeon, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kerry Melville Reid, Nancy Richey, and Rosie Casals. We know them as Original 9 responsible for establishing the WTA. Why did they do it?

[caption id="attachment_5337" align="aligncenter" width="1030"]Fighting_For_Equal_Pay_WTA Fighting For Equal Pay, photo by: WTAtennis.com[/caption]

The wary first year when the Open Era began (1968), the gap between funds for men and women was immediately obvious. At the first Wimbledon Open, Billie Jean King won £750 for taking the title, while Rod Laver won £2,000. The prize fund difference was 2.5:1 in favour of men, year after it was 5:1 in favour of men, one year after it was 12:1. Billie Jean King said that promoters were making more money than women were. Male tennis players were making more money. Everybody was making more money except the women. It was 1970 when she created the 1970 Houston Women's Invitation for nine women players and then created their own tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit. Later it joined with the ILTF's Women's Grand Prix circuit, and in 1973, WTA Tour was established at a meeting that was held at Gloucester Hotel in London. In 1975, the WTA increased its financial stature by signing a television broadcast contract with CBS, the first in the WTA's history.

In 2009, the new WTA tournament structure was introduced:

-    4 Grand Slam tournaments

-    1 Year-ending WTA Tour Championships

-    20 Premier tournaments - four US$6.5 million events, five $2.8 million events, twelve events with prize money from US$799,000 to US$2.5 million

-    32 International tournaments – 28 events at US$250,000 and four US$750,000 events

-    WTA 125k Series since 2012. The number of events varies each year. In 2019 there is going to be eight tournaments at around US$125,000, except the Oracle Challenger Series that is $162,480 event

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