International Women’s Day is about recognition, celebration, looking back at those who made a difference and looking to the future.
Sport and tennis in particular create moments daily that go to making a difference, stick in the mind and go to making a difference now and for the future generations.
I have nothing but pure admiration for those involved in tennis who over the years have fought and made a difference.
Billie Jean King, Martina Navaratilova, Amelie Mauresmo, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are just a few to name but there have been many more who have set the standard, fought for what is right and make things better for those following in their footsteps.
There are many moments that I remember and respect these women for.
The fight for equality, equal prize money, court share, returning mums, fight against sexism and racism & LGBTQ rights they continue to use their voice for good and that is bigger than any on court achievement.
From Billie Jean setting up the WTA and fighting for equal prize money amongst many players, Martina Navratilova still fighting for equal rights and a voice for tour mums from Kim, Vika and Serena they are just phenomenal.
Off or on the court the memories and moments they create are simply magical and deserve to be shouted about.
Simona Halep winning Roland Garros, Venus Williams’ celebration at the Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka returning after birth of her son, Serena Williams’ career achievements and her consistency since she became a mum.
There are too many moments where you look back and think, I remember that and the emotion does hit you hard. You see their career pan out and you become a part of it and one moment in tennis I will never forget is Serena Williams returning to Indian Wells.
In 2001 Serena Williams was due to take on Venus in the semi-finals at Indian Wells. Minutes before Venus withdrew with an injury, in the following final between Serena and Kim Clijsters to American was booed throughout by the crowd who hurled racist abuse at Serena’s dad, Richard in the crowd and Venus sat alongside him.
Serena won the tournament and boos continued around Indian Wells. The sisters vowed to never return again. Venus returned in 2016 after 15 year hiatus but in 2015 Serena returned.
They made a stand, Indian Wells became a mandatory event which means if you are a top player and you don’t play you get fined and Serena rightly said fine me what you want.
Her return in 2015 is one I remember and it’s fitting that Indian Wells falls around International Women’s Day because it was a key day in women’s tennis all those years ago and one that should be forgotten, neither should her first match back.
Serena came onto court to an incredible reception from the crowd which reduced her to tears before she went onto win against Monica Niculescu.
Women, the difference makers.