WTT History and Founder Billy Jean King

Posted on June 9, 2018

“If you have ever seen a World TeamTennis match, you have seen my philosophy of life in action — men and women — all genders — competing on the same team, making equal contributions, working together toward a common goal.”

Billie Jean King

When she created World TeamTennis in 1974, Billie Jean King was already a dominant, established, and respected force in the tennis world. She’d achieved a year-end World No. 1 ranking six times between 1966 and 1974 and had won every major — both in singles and in mixed doubles, and only the Australian Open eluded her in seeking a win in women’s doubles in all four major tournaments.

On top of all of her professional success, this wasn’t even the first league she founded. Together with her then husband, Larry, and others, she created the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, working to put women on equal footing with men in the sport. Plus, her sensational Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs brought even greater attention to her push for parity in the sport.

So, it was only fitting that King’s World TeamTennis league was founded on the idea of equality for all the players on the team, with five sets of tennis evenly divided between men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The league began with 16 star-studded teams including King herself, who was player-coach for her Philadelphia Freedoms.

To learn more about the history of WTT and how the league has been blazing trails for more than 40 years, click here.