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A Major Event For The Preservation And Rememberance Of The Life And Contributions Of American Tennis Great Althea Gibson At 2019 U.S. Open

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Althea Gibson Monument Unveiled On Day One of 2019 U.S. Open

The historic occasion of  the Althea Gibson Statue Unveiling on Monday, September 26, 2019, the first day of the U.S. Open, raised so many different levels of thoughts and feelings.  The day was beautiful, the weather was good and the crowd was large, we were about to witness a tremendous turn around in the consistent lack of preservation and honor that Ms. Gibson has long deserved.

The greatness that Ms. Gibson brought to the Black community, the tennis world and America should have already afforded her legacy the dignity and respect that many who have done far less have already received.

This incredible Black woman was the first to break the color barrier of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in 1950, and played in the U. S. National Tennis Championships in Forest Hills. She became the first African-American player to play in Wimbledon in 1951. She won the French Open Championship in 1956. Ms. Gibson won the U.S. National Championships and Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958. These victories were especially historic because the winner’s trophy was presented to her by Queen Elizabeth.

Ms. Gibson also broke the color barrier in golf, launching her golf career in 1964 and joining the
Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

On the day of the Unveiling, Immediate Past United States Tennis Association (USTA) President Katrina Adams, and former tennis professionals Leslie Allen and Zina Garrison, all gave tribute to, and discussed the depth of what Ms. Gibson meant to them and the role that her mentorship played in their becoming successful players. Witnessing these Black women honor the fact that had there been no Althea Gibson, they would not be where they are today, paid well deserved, respectful and loving tribute to yet another history making and door opening Black American woman.

American tennis great Billie Jean King, Angela Buxton, Ms. Gibson's former doubles partner, and the creator of the monument, Eric Goulder, also discussed and paid wonderful tribute to Ms. Gibson. Of particular note was Mr. Goulder's detailing of his concept in creating the monument.  During an interview he talked about, "The bust portion sitting atop a box, the box representing the box that the world tried to keep her in, and her now sitting atop that box she is depicted having broken out of it." And that, "Her shoulder is especially depicted in the way that it is, because so many now stand on it."

Talking to Mr. Goulder brought so much more conceptual meaning to his work. Upon returning to the statue, I now saw it in a totally different light, and was also spiritually enlightened by it.

Ms. Buxton shared shared memories of her long-time friend. “We won both the French and Wimbledon doubles together with my arm around her both times at the closing ceremonies … She slowly became the Jackie Robinson of tennis and I was soon referred to as the Pee Wee Reese, who without saying a word indicated ‘This is my friend.’”

The sculpture also will activate an augmented reality experience. Developed by MRM/McCann, visitors will be able to activate exclusive content about Althea Gibson’s life and legacy by focusing the Augmented Reality (AR) Viewfinder found within the 2019 US Open app onto the sculpture.  Narrated by Billie Jean King, the additional AR experience traces Althea’s humble roots, her early interest and involvement in tennis, her career and her legacy through video footage, photos and graphics.  Fans can also view the AR experience anywhere by using the APP to place a full-size 3D “hologram” of the sculpture into their surroundings and re-live the experience again or for the very first time.component that brings Gibson's life and career to life for fans on site during the Open via the US Open mobile app.

This honor that the USTA has bestowed upon Ms. Gibson shines such a brighter light on the historic and current day value of the life of Althea Gibson. Later in the day, I stood and watched people of many different cultures stop and observe the monument, take photos in front of it or standing beside it, and reading her quote that is engraved on one of the surrounding granite blocks, "I hope that I have accomplished just one thing: that I have been a credit to tennis and my country.

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INSTAGRAM: Legendary Singer Gladys Knight Moves From The Super Bowl To The Fed Cup - Enjoying Tennis Alongside Tennis Legend Billie Jean King

Sunday, February 10, 2019

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WNBA INSPIRATION AWARD: 2012 Olympics Gold Medal Recipient Venus Williams Is Honored

Monday, September 10, 2012

NEW YORK — The United States’ female Olympians have been honored by WNBA with its Inspiration Award.

The women, who won 58 of the Americans’ 104 medals at the London Games, were celebrated at the league’s Inspiring Women Luncheon on Monday as WNBA President Laurel Richie praised them for their accomplishments

“You have captured the nation through your passion, dedication and hard work, and I suspect quite the bit of sacrifice,” Richie said. “You are an inspiration to the next generation of young girls who we know were glued to their TV sets and their iPads and iPods and all other devices, and they watched you compete. ... You have shown what women can be as athletes and what athletes can be as citizens.”

Tennis star Venus Williams — who earned her fourth Olympic gold, including her third in doubles with her sister Serena — credited Title IX and players such as Althea Gibson and Billie Jean King with paving the way for her opportunities.

“We all believe in women’s sports, we believe in women athletes,” Williams said. “Young women need to know they can achieve, and sports makes life better. It helps women be more successful, more confident. I am so proud to be amongst all these wonderful athletes who are role models.”

WNBA President Laurel Richie and American tennis superstar Venus Williams

Photos by Getty Images
Source:  WAPO Sports

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2011 U.S. OPEN: (PHOTOS) First Lady Of The United States Michelle Obama Visits And Hits The Court For The Let's Move! Tennis Clinic

Saturday, September 10, 2011

(L-R) USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen, MaliVai Washington, Billie Jean King, James Blake, First Lady of the U.S. Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, and USTA Board Vice President Katrina Adams

First Lady Michelle Obama started playing tennis after she finished Harvard Law School but had always wanted to attend the US Open.

She was finally able to make it for the very first time Friday.

She started the morning in SmashZone, the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open. She played some 10 and Under Tennis with a group of kids from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, along with tennis stars Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, James Blake, Katrina Adams, Mal Washington and USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen, promoting tennis as a great way for children to stay active and healthy, which is a central part of her Let’s Move! Initiative, which works to combat childhood obesity.

The USTA and the First Lady teamed up earlier this year to encourage young people across the country to get active, try tennis and lead healthy lifestyles. Components of the collaboration included a public service announcement, which has aired nationwide featuring the First Lady along with tennis legends Stefanie Graf and Andre Agassi, as well as the construction and renovation of thousands of tennis courts across the country and the commitment to encourage 200,000 children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.

“I have been trying to get to the US Open my entire life. This is the first time I have been here. I couldn’t get here last year, so, yes, I am excited to be here,” the First Lady said. “I am so incredibly excited to finally be at my first US Open, but I am equally excited and proud to be standing in partnership with the USTA and all they have done for hundreds of thousands of kids across this country. You are an example of what we can do when we put our minds to it.”

Source: usopen.org

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2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 9: ICON Awards Honor Diversity And Service At U.S. Open

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CBS News personality (L)Betty Nguyen and cultural critic (R)Toure' were the hosts of the ICON Awards  Former NYC Mayor (C)David Dinkins was honored.

Billie Jean King
Rain couldn’t wash away the crowds as the ICON Awards honored trailblazers in the world of tennis and beyond.

The annual reception – hosted by CBS anchor Betty Nguyen and MSNBC host Toure, celebrated its third anniversary inside the Chase Center, on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The gala has become one of the signature events at the Open, leveraging the international stage of one of America’s greatest sports and entertainment spectaculars to recognize and celebrate individual and institutional contributions in diversity and inclusion.

This year honorees included the Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center (formerly Sportsmen’s Tennis Club) of Boston, Mass., along with Rick Welts, President and CEO f the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. To cap off the night, a teary-eyed Billie Jean King introduced Legacy Award winner David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of New York City and longtime member of the USTA Board of Directors.

As the national governing body for tennis, the USTA is committed to the principles of fairness and equality. From supporting tennis programs in local communities to staging the crown jewel of the professional game—the US Open—the organization adheres to a simple statement that sums up a vital objective: "Grow tennis and make it look like America."

Toni Wiley, Executive Director of Sportsmen’s, stepped to the podium and thanked the members of the Boston community – including host Toure, who was a member of the Dorchester-area club as a child – for supporting the tennis haven for 50 years. It is the oldest African American-owned tennis facility in the United States.

“Its amazing that for 50 years, this club has been fighting to create a place in a Boston community for young people to learn a sport,” said Wiley. “For many families, that didn’t seem possible when the facility was first built.”

Welts was next introduced with a sharp video package featuring endorsements from the likes of NBA Commissioner David Stern, Hall-of-Fame Boston Celtics center and coach Bill Russell and Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. Welts made headlines in May 2011 by publicly revealing his homosexuality in an interview with the New York Times.

USTA Chairman of the Board and (L)President Jon Vegosen and USTA Executive Director and (R)Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith.

As one of the few openly gay executives in professional sports, Welts speaks out against the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports and serves as a mentor to gay individuals who harbor doubts about a sports career, whether on the court or in the front office.

“In men’s team sports, there’s a level of discomfort along all lines – we don’t like talking about sexual orientation, its uncomfortable,” said Welts. “I hoped that my story would resonate with young people who may be found themselves at some point in their life in the same situation as I was and wondered if they could ever follow their passion – that they’d be prevented from following a dream because of who they were.”

King then was introduced, to a standing ovation, and remarked that without Dinkins – who signed into legislation a 99-year lease to keep the US Open in Flushing Meadows – as the person most chiefly responsible enhancing the sport of tennis in New York City.

“Events like today’s ICON Awards tell us that we have made great strides in the right direction,” said Dinkins. “The leaps ahead have most often been sparked by heroic individuals and tennis has certainly had its share. Among them were my personal heroes Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe… had the misguided prevailed in barring Althea, Arthur and countless others from competition, we might not have known them. That would have been tragic. Were it not for their struggles and triumphs, we might not have ever experienced the genius of so many great champions in tennis.

“I’m personally gratified that the USTA embraces the goal of enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits of tennis, regardless of economic status, age, social class, disability, gender or sexual orientation,” added Dinkins.

“(Total inclusion) is a goal, but not yet a reality – we have some distance yet to go.”


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PRESS RELEASE: Venus Joins Serena On WTT Champion Washington Kastles

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Press Release

CONTACT: Jack Deschauer
(202) 683-3134 (office)
(703) 298-5348 (cell)


World #1 Ranked Serena Williams and World #5 Ranked Venus Williams Join Forces to Defend Washington Kastles’ 2009 World TeamTennis Championship; Kastles Roster Now Holds a Total of 61 Grand Slam Championships

WASHINGTON – February 11, 2010 – The Washington Kastles, the 2009 World TeamTennis Champions, are proud to announce that for the third consecutive season, world #1 ranked Serena Williams will lead the Kastles after protecting her rights and selecting her earlier today in the league’s Marquee Player Draft. In a move to bolster their 2010 title hopes, the Kastles, in a trade with the Philadelphia Freedoms, added Venus Williams to the squad. Serena will play four matches for the Kastles and Venus will play three.

Serena has played in front of sell-out crowds in her two prior trips to Kastles Stadium for the 2008 and 2009 WTT seasons. This summer, she will make one home appearance at Kastles Stadium, as will Venus for a different match.

Serena is the defending Wimbledon singles and women’s doubles champion and two-time defending Australian Open singles champion. Coming off her 2010 Australian Open championships in singles and women’s doubles, Williams now has 25 career Grand Slam titles, 12 in singles, 11 in women’s doubles and two in mixed doubles. Williams’ 12 Grand Slam singles titles tie her with American legend Billie Jean King for sixth all-time. She holds more Grand Slam titles than any other active female player and has won more prize money than any woman in the history of professional sports.

Venus has won 20 career Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon singles titles. She is the reigning Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open women’s doubles champion and holds a total of seven Grand Slam titles in singles, 11 in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles. She also has won three Olympic gold medals, one in singles and two in women's doubles.

With the addition of Venus, the Kastles roster now has a total of 61 Grand Slam titles including 19 women’s singles, 26 women’s doubles, six men’s doubles and 10 mixed doubles championships.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Washington, DC this summer and helping my Kastles teammates defend our WTT Championship title,” said Serena about her return to the nation’s capital. “There's something special about playing in the middle of downtown DC in that setting with the great support of our fans."

During the July 5 - 25 season, the Williams sisters and the Kastles will welcome opponents John McEnroe, who returns with their Eastern Conference rivals, the New York Sportimes, in a rematch of last season’s now infamous and hotly contested battle, and Anna Kournikova and the St. Louis Aces. Martina Hingis, making her return to professional tennis, will likely come to DC when another Eastern Conference foe, the New York Buzz, takes on the Kastles.

“The historic opportunity to have both Serena and Venus on our team is a thrill, both for the success of our team and for our fans, whose support has been so integral to our success,” said team owner Mark Ein. “They are the epitome of what is great about the sport of tennis and will lead an unprecedented collection of talent for us on the court in 2010.”

“It takes world-class talent to win championships and there are no more accomplished athletes than Serena and Venus,” said Kastles head coach Murphy Jensen, who guided the squad to the 2009 title in his first season coaching in the WTT Pro League. “Last summer was truly a dream season for us, and come July 5, the dream continues in D.C.”

The rest of the 2010 Kastles roster will be determined during the March 16 WTT Pro League Roster Draft.

“The hardest thing about winning our first title will be defending it, because everyone will be gunning for us,” continued Ein. “We want to keep the King Trophy right here in D.C. and in order to accomplish that, we’re going to put the most talented team possible on the court every single match, home and away.”

The Kastles are entering their third WTT season. In 2009, the Kastles earned the franchise’s first playoff berth before defeating their heated rivals, the Sportimes, at home in the Eastern Conference Finals. In an epic final, before a capacity Kastles Stadium crowd, the Kastles rallied from down three championship points to triumph over the Springfield Lasers 23-20 to win their first King Trophy.

Great season ticket packages can be purchased by visiting www.washingtonkastles.com or by calling 202-4TENNIS. You can also follow the Kastles on Facebook at facebook.com/washkastles and on Twitter at twitter.com/WashKastles.

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BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Press Release

Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova & Kim Clijsters

Headline The Second Annual

"BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup"

Madison Square Garden On Monday, March 1, 2010

A Tennis Night In America Event

New York, NY, December 2, 2008 – The top women in the world of tennis, including current World No. 1 player Serena Williams, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, 2009 US Open champion Kim Clijsters and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, will face off in the one-night, single elimination $1.2 million “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Limited VIP tickets and additional tickets for $250.00, $125.00, $75.00, $50.00 and $25.00 went on sale TODAY and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com.

“At Madison Square Garden we strive to bring the biggest and best in sports and entertainment under our roof,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We are thrilled that these women’s tennis champions will be plying their trade at the second annual BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, and that our fans will get to witness a great, great night of tennis at The Garden.”

“We are looking forward to an exciting night of tennis with some potential interesting matchups including a rematch of the US Open semifinals between Serena and Kim,” said StarGames president Jerry Solomon, referring to the matches controversial ending. “With the return of great sponsors like BNP Paribas and the growth of our Tennis Night in America partnership with the USTA, the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup is emerging as a night that brings tennis fans around the country together to celebrate the sport. It is certainly a night that tennis fans should have on their annual calendar.”

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is the featured element of the national “Tennis Night in America” promotion. Through “Tennis Night in America”, the USTA will continue its efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis. “Tennis Night in America” is among the sports largest ever grass roots initiatives.

The USTA has made this event a major component for its Youth Registration Night, where youth from all over the country can begin signing up for spring and summer league play.

The caliber of players for the event is unparalleled, boasting three of 2009’s Grand Slam tournament winners, including defending champion Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, who stunned the tennis world with her Cinderella-like U.S. Open victory only two years after retiring from the sport. The grouping also consists of 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and seven-time Grand Slam Singles Champion, Venus Williams.

Serena Williams, the current top-ranked women’s player, captured two Grand Slam events this past year winning her 10
th and 11th singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She holds an astounding total of 52 titles (35 singles / 17 doubles) at Tour events. Serena, 28, defeated her sister, Venus, in this past summer’s Wimbledon singles’ finals, and the pair teamed up to once again win the doubles tournament.

Venus Williams, a 29-year-old former World No. 1, is currently ranked No. 6 and won the 2008 Wimbledon and Tour Championship titles. The Williams sisters paired up for patriotic pride to capture their second consecutive Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.

Rounding out the field is defending French Open Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian-born player is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and her Grand Slam title was her first since winning the US Open five years ago.

In this fast-paced no ad scoring format, each participant will compete in a one-set semi-final with the winners advancing to a best of three-set final for the Billie Jean King Cup.

Depending on the draw, which will be announced at a later date, a potential rematch of the 2009 US Open semifinal (Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters), Wimbledon finals (Williams vs. Williams) and French Open quarterfinal (Serena vs. Kuznetsova) could take place.

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is produced by StarGames in association with Madison Square Garden.

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Zina Garrison Settles Discrimination Suit Against USTA

Friday, September 18, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison Settles USTA LawsuitNEW YORK -- Former Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison has settled her racial discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Tennis Association.

Papers filed in federal court on Wednesday show that a deal was signed on Aug. 27, though its terms were not disclosed.

U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said the association is happy the case was resolved and was looking forward to working with Garrison in the future.

Garrison filed her lawsuit in February, saying she was treated unfairly because she was paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe and was held to higher standards.

Attorneys on both sides did not immediately return messages for comment.

The USTA announced in December 2007 that 2008 would be Garrison's final season at the helm.

Garrison, the first black captain of the U.S. Fed Cup team, replaced Billie Jean King in 2004. As a player, Garrison was the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up, becoming the first black woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga To Cook Off Court At the 10th Annual BNP Paribas Taste Of Tennis

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 10th Annual BNP Paribas Taste of TennisFrenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The world’s top tennis players and chefs are set to participate in the US Open’s hottest pre-tournament action at the 10th Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis.

This year’s lineup includes tennis superstars Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, Billie Jean King and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will cook-up culinary aces alongside 23 star chefs including TV personality and natural food expert Bethenny Frankel.

Attendees will be able to smooze with some of tennis's top players while tasting dishes by talented chefs from New York City and beyond. Here is the rest of the impressive culinary line-up:

Carla Hall (Alchemy Caterers / Top Chef); Ariane Duarte (CulinAriane / Top Chef); Mario Pagàn (Chayote); Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar & Grill); Todd Mark Miller (STK) - a favorite Teri Hatcher spot; Kevin Harry (Heartbeat); Chris Santos (The Stanton Social); Pete Daversa (Hill Country BBQ); Wendy Israel & Angel Elon (Baking By Design); Sue Torres (Sueños); Michael White (Marea); Roberto Treviño (Aguavia); Sebastiann Zijp (Bar Blanc); Brad Farmerie (Public); Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro); Chris Rendell (Double Crown); Kerry Heffeman (South Gate); Michelle Park (Kyotofu); Martin Maginley (Restaurant at Round Hill); Chai Trivedi (Pranna); Joel Dennis (Adour at The St. Regis New York); Adrian Richardson (La Luna).

Taste of Tennis is a star-studded charity event that is benefiting the Food Bank For New York City, and is set for Thursday, August 27th, 7-10pm at the W New York. For more information and tickets call (877) 282-7100 or visit www.bnpparibastasteoftennis.com. If you're on Twitter you can get regular updates by following them here: @TasteOfTennis.

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Stacey Allaster Succeeds Larry Scott as Chairperson And CEO Of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black Tennis Pros Stacey Allaster New Chairperson and CEO of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour

Stacey Allaster, recently appointed as Chairman and CEO of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
(Photo by Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced on Monday the appointment of Stacey Allaster, the Tour's President since 2006, as the new Chairman and CEO of the world's leading global sport for women. Allaster will begin her new role immediately and will continue to be based at the Tour's US headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. The naming of Allaster culminates an international search undertaken by the Tour's Board of Directors and led by leading global executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International.

Commenting on her appointment as Chairman and CEO, Stacey Allaster said: "I am honored to lead the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which since its founding by Billie Jean King 36 years ago has continued to break barriers and grow into a premier global sporting league. The Tour and our sport have enjoyed unprecedented success over the past years, and we are poised for even greater heights in the years to come. Our primary and enduring focus will be our fans, our players and our tournaments, and continuing to build a premium sport and entertainment brand."

"Women's tennis and the Tour have never been stronger as a business, and Stacey has been at the center of this business success over the past years," said seven-time Grand Slam champion and Player Council member Venus Williams. "Stacey has helped to lead the development of a stronger Tour product through the passage of a healthier and streamlined circuit structure. I believe that Stacey will be a great leader for the Tour, understands how players can help drive our business, and has all the tools to take our sport to even greater heights."

"Stacey Allaster is one of the most talented and respected leaders in our sport," said Steve Simon, Tournament Board Representative and Tournament Director of the BNP Paribas Open women's event. "Stacey brings to the role a track record of success in the areas of sales, marketing and television, possesses a deep understanding as to the needs of tennis fans, and has the respect of our players, tournaments and entire tennis industry. Stacey's appointment is great news for both the organization and the sport."

Allaster, 46, succeeds Larry Scott, who held the position for six years prior to becoming the Commissioner of NCAA's PAC-10 Conference. Recognized as one of the most internationally successful female sports executives, Allaster came to the Tour on January 1, 2006 in the newly-created role of President, responsible for the Tour's operations, business development, television, new media and tournament and player relations. Since joining the Tour, Allaster has played an integral role in a number of groundbreaking Tour achievements and is credited with helping to take the business of women's professional tennis to unprecedented heights, including:

(i) passage of the Tour's landmark Roadmap reform plan, which has resulted in a 40% increase in prize money, $750 million of new stadium investment and a healthier calendar better able to ensure that fans see top players competing more often on the Tour's biggest stages;

(ii) implementation of more fan friendly innovations to the sport than in its prior history, including working with leaders of other tennis governing bodies to bring electronic line calling to the sport, as well as on-court coaching, pre-match player interviews, interviews with coaches during matches and a new doubles scoring format;

(iii) expansion of the Tour's global television footprint and launch of groundbreaking digital initiatives, including TennisTV.com in partnership with the ATP World Tour, bringing live streaming of matches from the world's top women's and men's Tour events to a global online audience, along with a brand new fan friendly official Tour website;

(iv) playing a lead role in the prior renewal of the Tour's biggest three sponsorship deals - Sony Ericsson, Whirlpool and Dubai Duty Free;

(v) achievement of the Tour's longstanding quest to grant equal prize money for women tennis players at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, along with the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships and five of the biggest events on the Tour; and

(vi) reestablishment of the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships as a premier season ending event.

Prior to joining the Tour, Allaster served as Vice President and Tournament Director at Tennis Canada, where she is credited with leading a professional tennis resurgence during her tenure. She was instrumental in generating record revenues and attendance at the Canadian Open (currently known as the Rogers Cup), and turning each of the tournaments in Montréal and Toronto into premier global sporting properties. Allaster played an instrumental role in the building and fundraising for Toronto's world-class Rexall Tennis Centre, and led a team that generated over $165 million in sponsorship and stadium revenues for the development of the sport.

A consummate tennis professional, Allaster has held every position in the sport of tennis, from a junior to a collegiate player, to a Tournament Director of prestigious Masters Series and Premier Events, to Tour President.

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Serena Williams Claims First Billie Jean King Cup Title

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalIn what turned out to be a really nice event, American Serena Williams had to take down big sister Venus to earn the first Billie Jean King Cup title.

The entire event appeared to be planned, organized and promoted wonderfully. The celebration of legend Billie Jean King with a tournament named for her, broadcast on HBO and contested by four of the world's top players, it just could not have been done any better.

Venus and Serena Williams and Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic went head to head. The single-set semifinal no-ad format was do or die. It wasn't a matter of it suiting any of the players well, it was a matter of who was willing to go for it all. In the first semifinal Venus and Jelena seemed to start out on equal footing, but Venus managed to break Jelena's serve at the all to crucial 4-4 point of their match. She then served for and won that semifinal 6-4.

Serena and Ana's semifinal wasn't quite as even handed. While Ana did get in a few memorable shots, Serena was never in any danger. She defeated Ana 6-3 setting up the all-Williams final.

The maiden contesting of a tournament could not get any better than an all-Williams final. While it wasn't the most memorable match, the ladies played well and provided a match worthy of a final. After two weeks of winning tournaments back to back, Venus appeared to run out of gas... who wouldn't.

Nevertheless, the first Billie Jean King Cup was definitely a night to remember.

Event Photos

Black Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup Final

Photos by AP/Getty Images

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The L. A. Times Touches Base With Venus Williams

Friday, February 13, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams 2009 Australian OpenSince it's all A-Rod, all the time, it was practically inevitable that Venus Williams was asked by the New York Post to weigh in on the controversy during a conference call this morning.

"Once again, I'm not cool, so I don’t know much about the controversy with him," she said. "I haven't read anything. I am aware of something going on."

The question was re-framed, and put in terms of tennis, as to whether this sort of explosive news and subsequent admission would cast suspicion on other sports.

"Umm, you know, I think tennis is a completely different sport," she said, adding that being the strongest player isn't necessarily the determining factor in tennis.

Then she had a clever sound bite.

"You have to hold your nerve, and I don’t know if there’s a drug for that," Williams said.

Venus was on the call to promote the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The exhibition, on March 2, will also feature Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Additionally, the one-night, single-elimination event honors Billie Jean King.

The Indian Wells tournament starts the week after the New York exhibition, and Venus, as expected, will again skip the event, as will Serena.

They have not played Indian Wells since 2001, when Venus at the last minute pulled out of a scheduled semifinal match against Serena because of an injury. The family was booed before and throughout Serena's match in the final.

Venus was asked what promotional event she would do instead of playing Indian Wells, and said it would be something she planned with the tournament. The last question on the matter, on the call, was whether King had tried to persuade her to play Indian Wells again.

"No, I don't think that’s her job or aim," Venus said. "With Billie, her interest in me is if I'm OK and happy."

Photo by AP

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Venus And Serena Headline World Team Tennis

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus and Serena Williams World Team TennisSerena Williams, who last weekend claimed her 10th major title by winning the Australian Open, will return to Washington this summer to play for the city's World TeamTennis franchise, the Washington Kastles.

And Venus Williams will also visit Washington to face the Kastles as the marquee player for the Philadelphia Freedoms.

Serena's selection as the top pick in the marquee player draft was announced yesterday, and it represents a coup for team owner Mark Ein, who brought the franchise to town last summer.

Other top names visiting Washington this summer include John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova.

As the Kastles' featured player, Serena, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will play one home match and three on the road. She won't be on the roster when Venus visits the Kastles, so the sisters won't face each other in Washington.

The 2009 season runs July 2-26. Dates of the Kastles' home matches will be announced in February.

Photos by:
Travis Vandenburg/Serena
Camerawork USA/Venus

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Victorious Venus!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalWow, talk about energy! What a zoned in week for American Venus Williams. Today she became the winner of the 2008 WTA's Sony Ericsson Championships for the first time. Venus took out Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.

As in her Thursday match with baby sis Serena, Venus couldn't hold on to the first set, but let it fly in the second two and just surged with power against Zvonareva. Venus became more determined and very precise as she ramped up a very aggressive game.

"I'm so excited," Williams said. "That was a hard-fought match, every point, right down to the end."

Venus took home a fat $1.34 million. This is the first year in which equal prize money was paid, as in the men's season-ending ATP Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

Both Venus and Zvonareva will bump up two places in the rankings.

Venus is keeping her eyes on the prize, of her ranking she said "I know I can go higher."

Zvonareva became so undone that, as in years gone by, she was reduced to tears as her efforts failed her. But this young woman played her butt off this week, and if she wants to cry at this loss, she earned it. Doesn't that just bring to mind, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want, you would cry too if it happened to you..." I couldn't resist.

The first lady of Qatar, Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, presented the trophy to Williams.

"Thanks to your Royal Highness for coming. Wow," Williams said.

The trophy is named after tennis great Billie Jean King, a vocal proponent of equal prize money for male and female tennis players. She sat with Mozah and other dignitaries during the match and joined Williams on court for the award ceremony.

Black Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalBlackBlack Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson Championships Final

Photos by Getty Images

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