With five of the highest paid female athletes in the world hitting one familiar yellow ball for a living, it's no secret how lucrative women's tennis has become. But it wasn't always that way, and if it wasn't for Rosie Casals and eight of her colleagues, the sport might have never reached its position atop the athletic landscape. Casals joined Kamau Murray on the TENNIS.com Podcast to dive into her career, as well as offer up advice and opinions to keep the game strong and influential.
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Through the eyes of a pioneer: Rosie Casals talks shop on the TENNIS.com Podcast
The Original 9 member gives the origin story of the WTA and her thoughts on the game she helped unleash on the masses.
Published Mar 11, 2022
"We just knew we had to stick together, to fight for equality and for equal pay," Casals said in regards to her membership in the trailblazing group.
The Original 9 as they came to be known started everything with the creation of the Virginia Slims Circuit (and eventual inception of the WTA Tour), paving the way for some of the most captivating and influential moments in tennis lore. The groundbreakers were honored in 2021 as the first group inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which should arguably have an entire wing dedicated the individuals that started the foundation on which the current game is built.
Casals is not shy to speak her mind, especially when it comes to the current state of her sport. She would like to get to know more of the current generation of players, and believes it should be imperative for the governing bodies of tennis to work to connect the different eras of outstanding women. Throughout the interview, one thing shines brightest, and that is the unquestioned adoration Casals and her peers have for the game.
"We always want to talk shop, and I think that's why we were better students of the game," she said.
There is no shortage of amazing life experiences for Casals, and that includes all the hours on the court with Billie Jean King. As doubles partners, they won seven titles together, and Casals still feels that their approach in getting to the net is the best method possible.
In 2015 she founded the Love & Love Tennis Foundation, which helps to raise money for junior tennis players & programs in the Coachella Valley. Decades later, the fight to grow the game and level the tennis playing field continues. That's just fine with Rosie Casals, who has plenty of fight left in her.