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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Julie Heldman | Tennis 10sBalls

Photo by Behind The Racquet via Facebook

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories. We wish him and this endeavor the best of luck. Great seeing Noah wearing K-Swiss and playing Solinco Strings.

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#LegendaryBTR– “I feel a wonderful sense of pride for women tennis players and women athletes in general. I’m proud that I was a member of the ‘Original 9,’ and that we risked our careers for the future of women’s tennis, and we stood up against huge odds. People now are talking about equal pay for women athletes, but at the time we were just fighting for women to make a living at all because the men who were running tennis, were trying to shut us down. The Original 9 came up in 1970, but it was only two years before that, that open tennis started. Within those two years, the men who were running tennis made it almost impossible for a woman to continue playing, because there was a total of $5,000 in prize money, all year, for all women in the United States in 1970. In reaction to the terrible inequity, my mother and her magazine contributed an additional $5,000 to two separate tournaments. Besides these additions there were many weeks without anywhere to play. Jack Kramer, who was running the Los Angeles tournament, set the prize money ratio at eight to one, men to women. At the US Open, three top players, Billie Jean King, Nancy Richey and Rosie Casals, approached my mother and said, ‘Help, this is all falling apart,’ so my mother started the Houston tournament. First, she made sure Kramer wouldn’t oppose the Houston tournament, but then at the last minute he reneged and convinced the USLTA to stop the Houston event. One official called all the Houston players, saying that if you play, you’ll be suspended and won’t be able to play anywhere else. The official stated that the USLTA would approve the tournament only if the women competed as amateurs and wouldn’t receive any prize money. They were throwing everything at us, to stop us from succeeding. We were stuck. We could not turn to the USLTA, we couldn’t turn to Kramer, we were on our own. Fortunately, my mother had the will, the energy, and the brilliance to put together not only the tournament, but with the help of Virginia Slims Cigarettes, part of a fortune 500 company, the Virginia Slims Circuit…” @julieheldman

To continue reading full story go to behindtheracquet.com

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You can follow Julie Heldman on the links below:

Facebook | Julie Heldman

Twitter | @junkballjul

Instagram | @julieheldman

You can check out more Behind The Racquet stories on the link below:

Facebook | Behind The Racquet

Twitter | @BehindTRacquet

Instagram | @behindtheracquet

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