home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 23, 2016

Billie Jean King

Nicole Gibbs

Chris Evert

Miami, Florida

BILLIE JEAN KING: Is everybody here that's going to be here? We're going to have some fun today.

Anyway, I want to thank Sam Henderson first of all for allowing us to do this and making to happen. Amy from the WTA, everyone for allowing us to do this press conference today.

It's been a busy few days for all of us. Chris and I were talking, and we just decided we would want to talk to you. We keep getting so many requests to talk about equality and the prize money. It just goes on and on. We thought maybe it would be fun for all of you if we just talked to you about our various thoughts on the subject.

I think it's a great opportunity to keep the discussion open about inclusion and equality. That, for me, is such a narrow focus. It's really about the world and what's going on. Chris wrote what she wanted. This is hilarious.

Go ahead.

CHRIS EVERT: Billie and I are talking about this, and Billie is going to talk about the future and I am going to talk about the past.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I couldn't believe what she wrote about. I'm like, What?

CHRIS EVERT: Many of you were too young to even know what happened in the early '70s. Some of you weren't born. But there were a lot of struggles and there were a lot of sacrifices being made in the early 70s, and I think I'm going to talk a little bit about those.

In the early '70s, the men had it really easy. Men athletes were very respected, admired, looked up to, and there was something almost unsettling about a strong, muscular athletic woman running around the court sweating. That was the early '70s and that was the stigma.

Then Billie Jean King came into the picture with the Original 9. First of all, Billie Jean scared me to death with her forward thinking. She was bold and she was aggressive and she was damn smart. That was very intimidating to me, a teenager at that point.

In my mind, she was right up there with Gloria Steinem. At that point, every time I turned on the TV I saw demonstrations and I saw bra burning and I saw rallies. I sensed at my young age that there was a revolution of some kind going on. I sensed also that it was very, very important for women.

But I still couldn't relate to her. I mean, I was a teenager. I was a kid in Ft. Lauderdale growing up in a culture where dads worked and moms stayed home and worked in the home and took care of the kids.

In the early '70s I was lucky enough to see how hard these women tried to sell the sport of tennis. The clinics and the cocktail parties and press conferences and the endless WTA meetings. Even bucking the establishment, who were at the time the USTA, when they threatened to be banned from US Open.

Remember that year?

BILLIE JEAN KING: Yes. (Laughter.)

CHRIS EVERT: I would like to just tell one story. In 1974, when I was a teenager, I played Billie Jean in a tournament in San Francisco in the finals and lost to her quite easily.

The next weekend, because we were No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, I played her in Sarasota, Florida and beat her quite easily. I openly wondered why she was so sluggish and just didn't seem to play her best out there.

I was informed that the day of the finals Billie Jean had flown out from Sarasota and spent the whole day in New York City doing meetings with potential sponsors, and then she flew back to Sarasota at 5:30. Didn't even warm up and just went on the court and played.

She put the tour before her career so many times. How many men or women do that? Ask yourself that. By the way, she and her husband at that time, Larry king, took me to Dairy Queen after. (Laughter.)

Billie Jean loves her ice cream. Remember this was the...

BILLIE JEAN KING: She didn't like it, though.

CHRIS EVERT: This was the era in the early '70s of no coaches, no entourages, no agents. We practiced together; we traveled together; we hung out together. We were all friends, comrades, and we had each other's backs. We were family. It was the best time in tennis. Ever.

So if there is a silver lining to all this that's gone on in the last week, it's the fact that there has been such outrage from the players and from the media and from the public defending the women's game.

I think from time to time we all need a reminder of the evolution of women's tennis and the great (indiscernible) and sacrifices every generation has had to make, from Billie Jean it myself and Martina, Steffi to Monica, to Williams sisters.

What we've done to get the credibility, the respect, and equality that we have now.

Thank you.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Whoa. I can't follow that. Anyway, thank you. That was really sweet of you. Brought back a lot of memories. Especially being family. That's what I remember, how each of us had our backs.

I've been accused that if the women were making more than the men I wouldn't care. That's not true. Let me explain an epiphany I had when I was 12 years old. I had played tennis one year. I wanted to be No. 1 in the world at 11. Fast forward to 12 years old, and some of you know the story already but a lot of you do not. I was daydreaming at the Los Angeles Tennis Club about our sport. I started thinking about it. Everyone wore white shoes, socks, clothes, played with white balls. Everybody who played was white.

I asked myself the question, Where is everybody else? Where is everybody else? At that moment I basically made up my mind that I would spend the rest of my life fighting for equal rights for boys and girls, men and women.

I didn't say girls; I didn't say men. I said all genders. Both genders. And with tennis, if I were lucky enough to make it to the top -- why am I having so much trouble with this?

So tennis would be my platform. I knew I had to at least become No. 1 if anyone was ever going to listen, particularly already at 12 as a girl I knew my journey would be very different from a boy's journey. I knew it would be probably more difficult. But that's the deal.

Most of you know I grew up with a younger brother, Randy Moffitt. He played 12 years in Major League Baseball. He and I were in a situation that we both were very supportive of each other to live our dreams.

I was very fortunate -- and I think Chris would say the same thing -- that my dad was a huge in my life. He validated what I dreamt about as well as my brother. A lot of times as a girl you don't get that same validation within a family unit.

So I owe my dad and my mother, but particularly my father in that area. So what's really important to me is that this discussion goes much further and deeper. This is about inclusion. We're just lucky. The tennis players are really lucky.

But any time a person is making less than another person, it doesn't help. Let's take a family. Okay, a family trying to make ends meet. When a woman makes .78 on the dollar and brings it home, her family suffers; her husband suffers. If she's single mother, she suffers because she doesn't have as much money for her children.

This goes really deep. This isn't about -- we happen to be the lucky ones. We're at the top. People talk about us. We make lots of money, the top players. But this goes down to grassroots, real families, real people. And that is just the United States.

Now, if we want to go outside the United States it's a whole different world. Some places it's impossible for women. What's important is that we encourage each other and are good and kind to each other and really elevate each other always and forever. Okay?

We represent tennis. Because we have men and women's, we are one of the few that can lead globally on these issues. That is what my life is about and what I care about. Tennis was secondary to me. Okay? The reason I would go and do the sponsor meetings is tennis was secondary.

This, inclusion, when it's about all of us, is everything. We have a chance to continue to lead. To have equal prize money in the majors sends a message. It's not about the money, it's about the message. Any time you discount another human being by gender, race, disability, however, we're not helping ourselves.

You want everyone to make a lot. At least I do. We want to make the pie bigger, the marketplace bigger for all, for all of you so you have jobs. To argue over the prize money issue, what about when Chris and Martina were playing and their ratings were better than the men? We didn't go, Oh, we deserve more than the men. No. Let's just keep it equal and help each other.

So anyway, let's have some fun. It's not a "he" thing or a "she" thing; it's a "we" thing. I'm telling you, this is the only way the world is going to make it.

Anyway, do you have any questions or comments?

Q. (Question regarding secondary status.) How do we stop the mindset?
BILLIE JEAN KING: I think what Andy Murray said. He's not going to tell his daughter, his new baby, that she's going to get less. How would you ever want to tell your child that you're less than? He can't do that, and he's right.

Wawrinka came out and said the same thing.

So this new generation of men are really going to help. They're going to help a lot. It's just like I always wanted a straight quarterback to come out in favor of the gay guys on the team. When a straight quarterback comes out and really supports that, you will see things change.

We are in a very elevated position. We can make a difference because we can reach people. We can inspire people. We can motivate. The real sheros are local, by the way. The real heros and sheros are local. Okay? But we can motivate and inspire. Okay?

Just put yourself in somebody else's shoes. I'm always trying to pretend, Okay, how would I feel if I were in this position or that position? I try to get myself out of myself.

These young generation, and the women as well -- I mean, Nicole Gibbs is here today. She's a player that keeps texting me like crazy. She wants to do blogs and she's thinking about it. Now she's said it's drawn her in, this whole -- well, Nicole is here. You talk yourself, Nicole.

No, no, you get up and talk. This is the way we teach each other. We're mentoring. Go ahead. Just say what you were texting me. You're a young generation; this is the future.

NICOLE GIBBS: First of all, I just want to thank you guys for your words today. You guys have been such mentors to me throughout my career just with your tennis, but also using your platform, which I think is so, so important.

I was just talking to Jeff over here. I got into a little spat on Twitter last night. I wouldn't call it a spat but I was just hearing some negative opinions towards women on court with some statistics and some of my own thoughts about equality and finding a way everybody can support one another, like you said.

I had multiple girls in the locker room come up to me and say, Hey, I saw your tweets last night, your messages, but my coach told me not to get involved, or I didn't think it was smart for me to get involved.


NICOLE GIBBS: I'm not going to name names, but it's really disappointing. It's like, Okay, so you see me out there putting myself out there and trying to give myself an opportunity to use my platform, and you think, Oh, I have an opportunity to use mine too but I'm not going to do that because maybe the media won't like it or maybe even men who are following me who have these opinions won't like it.

I think there is far too much worrying about what other people are going to think when you're campaigning for equality as a woman. I think it's really important for us to do as you're saying, use our platform and really just fight the good fight.

BILLIE JEAN KING: What do you say to the ones that say they don't want to get involved or get committed to this?

NICOLE GIBBS: You know, I try not to be too heavy- handed because...

BILLIE JEAN KING: That doesn't work. You're right.

NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, like you're saying, though, you can never really fully put yourself in someone else's shoes, so I'm not going to say, You need to do this...

What I'll say is, Hey, I would really appreciate some support on that. Or, Hey, I'm writing a blog in the next couple weeks. Would you be willing to give a quote for that that's authentic and unfiltered?

I get a lot of positive responses, so I think it's appealing to people in a way that scares them.

CHRIS EVERT: If I could give you some advice: Never be fearful of telling your truth. I think I'm saying that because in my generation there was always so much fear about telling the truth and about consequences and about image and about how you'll look and how you'll sound.

You know what? It's all wrong. It's all wrong. So I admire you for speaking out as a current player. Just keep doing it.

NICOLE GIBBS: Thank you. Hopefully I can get past 74 in the world so I can have a little higher platform.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Doesn't matter. You have a platform because we're global now. We weren't global when we started. This is fantastic.

CHRIS EVERT: Billie Jean, you bring up a really good point about the dads. You know, men have to help us.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Yeah, they do.

CHRIS EVERT: You talk about Andy Murray. I mean, I've had this conversation with John McEnroe, who was definitely not for equal prize money in his career. Now he's got daughters and he understands.

I think if you had a daughter -- my dad the same way. In that culture, my dad was, you know, the woman is -- he was happy when I got engaged at 19 because he thought I was going to get married and live happily ever after.

BILLIE JEAN KING: My parents thought the same thing.

CHRIS EVERT: It's like, you know, I don't know.

BILLIE JEAN KING: You'll be taken care of. Here is what my generation thought: Oh, if you get married then you'll be taken care of. Then the parents don't have to worry about you anymore. Someone will be there to take care of you.

We all know how well that's worked out. I just think, you know, Nicole, you said "unique." I started this Billie Jean Leadership Initiative about a year and a half, two years ago, and that is the essence. Each person could be their unique self 24/7. We appreciate it and celebrate our similarities and our differences.

If we just can get real basic here and think globally and not think just about our little sliver of a sport, this is huge. This is about the world. It's about families. It's really about families. No one should be making .78 cents on the dollar. It's hurting the families, you know.

You hear all the politicians talking about how there is less middle class and more poor. Hello! If we get equal pay for the work, especially single mother, then her children are going to have more money for clothes, shelter, food, all the necessities in life.

We're all here playing tennis and this all looks good. The essence is that each family, each person, deserves to have access, an opportunity. I mean, I grew up in Long Beach, California and you grew up in Holiday Park. If I didn't have access to the parks and recs, I never would be sitting here with you.

The City of Long Beach has made my life, the people, my parents, my teachers, my coaches. All these people contribute. You don't do anything alone. So basically I want to thank all of you. You traditional media is all we had when we were playing. Without you, our story wouldn't have been told.

So the camera people, the photographers, the people that cared about us, the writers, you made it for us. Now the wonderful thing with social media added onto that, we wouldn't have had this discussion like this without the social media aspect and everyone weighing in.

To hear the men and women weighing in, tennis players -- now we are going to go back narrow again -- tennis players just having this dialog, a discussion, is actually progress. To have Andy Murray and Wawrinka say that about their daughters, that's progress.

So this next generation of men are going to make a huge difference. We need them, but they need us. We need each other. I think if we can just keep that in our minds all the time, then we're going to win. The WTA and the ATP, ITF, USTA in this country, we all have an opportunity to help make the world a better place. I just hope that's what we're going to do.

Anyway, we have been bombarded by the media, so that's why. Any other questions or thoughts?

Q. You mentioned at the outset the outpouring of support. To that end, how surprised, concerned were you with the remarks made by Raymond Moore, if you can go back?
BILLIE JEAN KING: I've known Ray Moore -- can I just say this?

CHRIS EVERT: You sure can.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I've known Ray since the '60s when we used to go to South Africa, when there was apartheid, and he really helped fight for that. So I always appreciate the good that Rai's done.

I think he's sorry what he said. He was trying to be funny. Whatever, I'm not putting him under the business because I really like Ray and he's done some great things for us, especially helping South Africa with the apartheid challenge.

So I think he's done a lot of great in his life and I think we need to put this behind us. No one is perfect. I know I've made some real boo-boos in my life. I really appreciate it when people forgive me and just move on.

So I've been texting Ray and I have said, Hey, you've done so much good. Just don't worry about it. Just let's move on. I think we need to really not worry about Ray. I think it's important to have the dialog open and how can we make a difference.

Q. What do you make of Novak's suggestion that the men's game generates more interest and more tickets and money? Secondly, if that were the case, that would mean the men should take more money than the women.
BILLIE JEAN KING: You want me to answer this or me or both?

CHRIS EVERT: Yeah, I think that, you know, it's all about buying tickets and entertainment value. The women certainly have proven themselves to be equal with the men.

I think it's been cyclical as far as different eras. The women are going to be bigger draws, and I know they were in certain eras, especially when we had American women at the top and European men at the top. I know that we drew more and got more press and more support from the public.

The last couple years, and I said this on TV, it's sort of been a golden era for the men's game, because you've got three of the greatest -- four -- three out of -- the greatest players of all-time. We know who those players are. That's real special for men's tennis.

But, you know, I don't agree with those -- I don't want get in trouble here, but I think a lot of the comments are cultural, too.


CHRIS EVERT: I doubt you hear that as much from the American men tennis players. I'm sort of applauding America for that fact.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I think that if you look at committees and you look at who controls the sport, it's men. I think that's still a reflection, a lot of that. Let's just say it's so. So? Now what? Then if the girls are doing better they should get more? So it's going to go back and forth?

See, I just don't think like that. My brain doesn't work -- I never could think like that.

CHRIS EVERT: I think the women, they train as hard as they can. The women train as hard as the men train. The women are just as professional as the men.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Then they're going to say the three out of five.

CHRIS EVERT: Morally it's the right thing to do.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Exactly. Morally it's the right thing to do, which is hard for a lot of people. Change is difficult.

Also, when you're the dominant group, okay? When you're the dominant group, other others are very invisible to you. I'm not say you personally; I'm saying you plural. If you're the nondominant group, boy, you know a lot about the dominant group, because you've got to navigate.

Do you know why with I tell girls to go into sports? So when they go into business they'll understand how to navigate. I don't care if you're going to be No. 1. I want her to understand the world that is teed up for us. The men teed up the world. That's a fact.

We as women or people of color or disability, we know a lot about the dominant group. We know more about them probably than they know about themselves. We have to navigate in their world, and that's not fun every day. I feel like I've been on a tightrope my whole life trying to find a way to get people together and not ticked off.

That's the last thing I want. I want to reach their hearts and minds and change their hearts and minds to want the best for everyone. So it's hard for me to just take tennis. I think about the world and people and families. I picture families trying to make ends meet and the car breaks down. You know, Oh, my God. I got to get to work. What about the baby-sitter for the child? To me that is the essence of things.

We have an opportunity to set an example, to be a model, because we do get a lot of exposure. We are a global sport and we're very fortunate in that we're global. And I think we are very fortunate in that we have men and women playing tennis. You take football.

There are very few women. I just was a keynote speaker for FIFA about three weeks ago at a women's conference.

Gianni Infantino, who's the new president, was only his second day there so we were sweet to him. You got to get settled in and get organized. We were talking about what we were asking for. It wasn't tough. It was logical. That's where the growth opportunities are.

I talked to the NFL. We had a women's conference there. A lot of us were there. They're 50 years old now and they had their first women's conference. Men control these things.

You look at government. If you want to just take the United States, we don't even have 20% of congress are women. Then you get to (indiscernible) Canada where it's been made equal and everybody is pounding on him. Why did you do that? Duh, it's 2015.

That's because he knows he was doing the right thing for his country. There is nothing like human capital. Every single person has a brain, power, they're an influencer. What are we doing? We're not using all the resources we have. Every country in the world needs to think about that. 70% of poverty in the world is women. You keep a women down, you keep the children down.

It's for our future. We want to get everyone out of poverty. We don't want people in poverty. You want them educated and being productive human beings. Any time you try to think, Okay, I'm dominant and better than you, you better stop right there. We all have to stop there and think, Whoa. Stop.

It's like when I used to walk out the door every day, and I hope I still do this, I put my ego on the shelf. Get it out of there. It's like, Get real. We're just lucky. Everybody in this room is probably luckier than 99% of the rest of the world. I know that I'm. I'm glad that Susan Williams asked me to play tennis when I was 11 years old. I said, What's that?

So everyone is an influencer. Relationships are everything. I want our relationships to be good and I want to get along with each other. I think the men, the younger men, the generations getting better and better and better.

I would love to be 18 years old again with the guys hanging around now. They're adorable. And most people do want us to do better, I think. Especially if they have a sister, a mother that they appreciate, or as they get older and have the daughter.

CHRIS EVERT: Or they had a woman coach.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Woman coach is big. Djokovic had a woman coach first. I mean, he went back to her and showed the Wimbledon -- I think he took the trophy to her. I don't remember her name. I saw it on 60 Minutes. He was adorable to her.

I love talking to Novak.

CHRIS EVERT: What other sport has combined events like this?

BILLIE JEAN KING: We're really lucky. Instead of looking at the differences, look at how lucky we are and build each other up. That's how I look at it.

CHRIS EVERT: It would just be nice for the WTA and the ATP to get in the same room and have a little conversation.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I tried to get the men -- just so you know, in the past I tried to get the men and women together and they didn't want us. That's why I went to Plan B, the Original 9. I did not want that. I wanted us to have one association.

Here is what I used to say to the men: You guys, it's not on just being on the court what we can do, it's what we can do off the court. We are a global sport because Great Britain took tennis to every place. That's a whole other interesting book somebody should do, is Great Britain and how they took cricket, football, tennis -- they're the ones that made it global. They had all the colonies back in the 1800s.

So it's fascinating. The point is we have tennis; it's global. We have an unbelievable opportunity. To your point, how many other sports have men and women like we do? Seriously.

CHRIS EVERT: And they work together.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I just wish we were one association. We could be so much more powerful. I mean, together we can do so much more than kind of together. Like 40% I think of the events were together. Just think if we worked together the power we could have.

But the guys don't want us. Fair enough. We're going to keep trucking along. I think the younger generation might shift, hopefully, the men, because they have the power. They do have more power, but we also have power and influence now. Girls have to stand up and be counted.

Nicole, you need to tell those girls to stand up. Do most of them have male coaches that tell them to stay out of it or women coaches?

NICOLE GIBBS: Specific example was actually a female coach.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Really? And why did she say stay out of it? Got to concentrate on your tennis?

NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, concentrate on tennis, all that sort of thing. I think our generation is very privileged sometimes because we have...

CHRIS EVERT: You think?

NICOLE GIBBS: (Indiscernible.) You know, we just kind of take it for granted. We think, Okay, it's all better. We just have to focus on our tennis. That's what we are told from a very young age, and very few of us feel a responsibility to continue on a path of equality.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Right. So what do you think your responsibility is? Like what about the kids being born right now?

NICOLE GIBBS: Yeah, I think about -- again, you have to use the platform to continue down that path of equality. Quality and fairness many right now we think we're so far down the road and in reality we are not necessarily.

There are still so many people, men and women both, making comments that are very counterproductive to our mission of growing the game of tennis, using it as a platform.

CHRIS EVERT: In our generation, players, we had so many WTA meetings. You would drag us to meetings every Grand Slam. The last thing you want to do as a player. You wanted to concentrate on your tennis.

But we did go to the meetings. I remember Billie Jean -- when I was 19, she was president of the WTA. She told me, After I retire, you have to be president. I'm going, I barely graduated high school. What the heck do I know about being president of an association?

BILLIE JEAN KING: I did put a gun to her head. Sorry.

CHRIS EVERT: She mentored me for the ten years I was president and the players in that era were a lot more involved. I don't know how many players are really as involved with the WTA nowadays.

NICOLE GIBBS: In fairness, I'm not even on the player council right now. I would love to be down the road.

CHRIS EVERT: Okay. Good.

BILLIE JEAN KING: You have leadership already. You're leading. Did you have fun watching this mentoring? I'm learning. You learn from the younger ones all the time.

If you want to be a leader you got to take the heat. Okay. People may not love you. Got to go with it. You just hope they respect you. But they may not love you.

Of course love is much nicer. Anyway, thank you for being here. Anything else?

Q. Those of us on tennis Twitter last night, between watching Nicole and Andy Murray having a discussion with Mr. Stakhovsky -- did you all see that?
BILLIE JEAN KING: I saw enough. He's never been happy.

Q. As far as I know he's still on the player board.
BILLIE JEAN KING: Okay. Well the, the players have to decide. I can't. I don't know him well enough. What about him? What's the question?

Q. The question is what are your thoughts on him being on the player board?
BILLIE JEAN KING: He's been complaining forever I think. I think he's the player that complained like two years ago or walked in and started -- but I think everybody took care of him. That wouldn't have happened, by the way, in my generation.

So I was thrilled.

Q. You suggested before Novak's comments were cultural.
CHRIS EVERT: Oh, jeez. I knew that would get me.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Well, we started laughing when he used the hormone thing. Oh, no. That's like 50 years old or something.

CHRIS EVERT: I mean, I just see America was the first to accept equality, obviously the US Open in tennis.

BILLIE JEAN KING: No, we're not.

CHRIS EVERT: What do you mean no we're not?

BILLIE JEAN KING: Who was the first country that allowed women to vote? Who knows that answer?

Q. Great Britain?

Q. Germans?
BILLIE JEAN KING: No. New Zealand. The Kiwis. In 1890s. I used to know the date. This is why it's always fun to learn.

CHRIS EVERT: In answer to your question --

BILLIE JEAN KING: It's cultural, yes.

CHRIS EVERT: I think Americans accepted it's evolving, women equal to men, on a lot of different levels earlier than Europe did.

That's the great thing about America. That's why we're happy to be Americans. We're the leaders in the world in a lot of different areas.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Also, Scandinavian countries are really -- but they have small countries, little diversity. It's a lot easier. Like speaks to like. Life is easier.

That's not what the world is. There is more and more diversity every moment. Let's look at our own country. The Latinos and Latinas are going to be 50% by 2030, I think.

So it's the way it is. Personally, I love it. I like us all to be together. I think it's more fun. I think much more cultures is much more fascinating.

CHRIS EVERT: I think for all of you who were around in the '70s, it's important to know what Billie Jean said about the men shunning us. Wasn't like we were on this big ego trip, revolutionary ego trip to get our own tour.

BILLIE JEAN KING: No. Absolutely not.

CHRIS EVERT: I mean, that was like the last resort.

BILLIE JEAN KING: That was last, last resort. You have to remember, when I would go to a press conference, and I don't know about you, Chris, but there wasn't one woman sportswriter.

There wouldn't have been one woman in the crowd my whole life. When I played Bobby Riggs, there wasn't one women sportswriter there. I grew up with guys. It was fun actually. They were funny. We got laughing a lot.

I used to ask them before we started the press conference, I would like each person here to tell me what it means to be a feminist. It was hilarious. All the guys go -- start thinking about it. Whoa, whoa. Let's go to each one. If I say that word, I want to make sure we're on the same page.

You cannot believe the differences. It was hilarious. Nobody was really sure what they thought. So I just said equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls. Exactly what I've said since I was 12. Just means equality. Everybody gets their knickers in a twist. Oh, oh. What are the girls asking for? No, we just want the same. Not more.

Everyone thinks women should be thrilled when we get crumbs. Okay? I want women to have the cake, the icing, the cherry on top, too. And every man and every women and every -- now we have more than just men and women, so however they self- identify. I have to honor that. I just think every single human being deserves the cake and the icing and everything. Okay? Everyone. Everyone.

Q. How much were the men paid versus...
BILLIE JEAN KING: How much were the men paid versus us when we started?

CHRIS EVERT: Can I answer that? Because I read -- and when I was young or in the early '70s, what was it 1970 when you played San Francisco?

BILLIE JEAN KING: When we played, you mean?

CHRIS EVERT: No, no, the tournament when you and Rosie walked off.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Oh. I think it was '70.

CHRIS EVERT: Yeah, 1970.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Jack Kramer tournament.

CHRIS EVERT: I thought the prize money for the men was ten grand and the women was one, but then I read on Google...

BILLIE JEAN KING: I think it was eight to one maybe.

CHRIS EVERT: I read it was twelve to one.

BILLIE JEAN KING: It was huge, whatever it was.

CHRIS EVERT: Twelve to one.

BILLIE JEAN KING: That's not what was scary. You know what got scary? We had less and less tournaments to play. Looked like we weren't going to have any tournaments to play.

Forget the money. We're not going to have a place to compete. That's why, if you remember, when I talked to the Original 9, what our goal was, any girl in the world that's born, if she's good enough, will have a place to play. We were getting so we didn't have any tournaments.

So a place to play, be recognized for her accomplishments, not just her looks, and to make a living. We were making $14 a day and we were not getting any -- then we were getting into a position we weren't even having a place to play. Forget the $14. That was scary. We loved competing just like anybody else.

So those are the three reasons for the Original 9. So we know when see the kids today, the players today, we are thrilled. When the Original 9 get together -- we're all still alive -- we always saw, God, I'm so glad we made the effort to do what we did. We had no idea what was really going to happen.

We're thrilled. We're just thrilled. When Serena got $4 million two or three years ago at the Open, I'm going, Yay. I love it.

Why not?

CHRIS EVERT: This is why you talk about having people against you, I mean, everybody was against Billie and the 9. All the men in the world; the USTA. I was with the USTA. I went conservative. My dad made the decisions. I was 17 years old. I didn't know any better.

But the USTA warned them they would ban them from the US Open if they went off and formed another tour.

BILLIE JEAN KING: You know, I was asking the USTA to do a tour for us and they said no. As soon as we started our own Virginia Slims, then they did start a tour.

Then that wasn't good. Then we had to have the WTA. Well, I wanted them to be one but didn't happen. So we had to get the top women together.

I used to say in the locker rooms -- what I did is I had Rosie go talk to two players she knew the best; each of our players make sure they go and talk to two other players on the other tour. I said, We have to be together. The top talent has to be together.

Then we all met at the Gloucester in '73. We finally got this meeting. I had Betty Stove lock the doors. Do not let the players leave until we have an association. Or we don't. This is my last breath on it. If we don't have it when we leave here I'm giving up.

We got it. Everyone raised their hand, we signed, we elected our officers. My husband who was a lawyer already had the bylaws ready so we could elect our officers. We had or association. We walked out. Otherwise, I don't know what would've happened. We got lucky. I don't know. Just it worked.

CHRIS EVERT: They were afraid of you.

BILLIE JEAN KING: They were afraid of me? What were they afraid of? They had all the control.

CHRIS EVERT: Yeah, well, I was 15, 16. No, the way you spoke of...


CHRIS EVERT: Wonderful.

Q. Just to return to Novak for a second, what does it mean that a 28-year-old man says those kinds of things? Does that make you frustrated that after all these years even a younger man would say those things?
BILLIE JEAN KING: You have to understand his culture. And guess what? He's had a son born into his life. He needs a daughter born. I think Murray even mentioned that. If you have a daughter, let's talk.

Murray and Wawrinka had a daughter first. Children just are such huge influencers. It's amazing. My prayer is that everyone have -- I would pray that most of the guys have daughters, to be honest, because I think it changes you.

CHRIS EVERT: Absolutely.

BILLIE JEAN KING: It's amazing. Of course Chris has had three boys. Tracy Austin has three boys. Lendl has five girls. It's hilarious.

CHRIS EVERT: But I see the other side of it as far as...

BILLIE JEAN KING: We have to raise our boys, though.

CHRIS EVERT: In college there are not as many scholarships because of Title 9 for boys in tennis and stuff like that.

BILLIE JEAN KING: Yeah, that's not true. It's the football team that takes up all the scholarships. So they should go kill the football guys.


BILLIE JEAN KING: But that has nothing to so with women, yet we get blamed for that. I'm like, Squeeze me? Squeeze me? No, it's okay. We have these discussions all the time. This is the way our life has been since she was 15.

CHRIS EVERT: She corrects me all the time.

BILLIE JEAN KING: No, but she corrects me. This is good.

CHRIS EVERT: Only other thing about Novak was I didn't quite understand the hormone thing. You don't talk about women and hormones anywhere. That's just a no no.

BILLIE JEAN KING: You can talk about why the guys are stronger and bigger and faster, because of the androgens. You can talk about that part, but not the other.

He was talking about our monthly situation; period. I'm like, Oh, my God that's so antiquated. Dark ages.

CHRIS EVERT: Don't go there.

BILLIE JEAN KING: No, we can go there. People need to talk about it. Scandinavia does talk about it more. We're still a product of our environment. My parents would be dying right now, too. Billie, don't talk like that.

Thanks a lot, guys. That was fun. (Applause.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297