Original 9 Female Tennis Stars Earned $1
September 24, 2010 8:01 AM Subscribe
Women's Pro Tennis Turns 40. Women's professional tennis was launched by World Tennis magazine publisher Gladys Heldman 40 years ago on September 23, 1970, with a tournament that had nine entrants and $7,500 in prizes. The original nine were Billy Jean King and Rosemary Casals along with the lesser known Peaches Bartkowicz, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss. A year later, King became the first female athlete to earn six figures in her sport. In the '80s, Martina Navratilova became the first to earn $1 million. Today the WTA Tour is an $85 million-a-year sport. "We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis," King said.
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