Tennis Pioneer Honored
Rosie Casals was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame along with Dan Maskell, the late “Voice of Wimbledon.” The two will be inducted in ceremonies at Newport, R.I., on July 14.
Casals’ accomplishments on the court are immense - 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, 130 overall championships. But she would rather recall breaking out with friends Billie Jean King, Nancy Richey and Kerry Melville Reid in 1970 to form the Women’s Tennis Association.
Before then, men and women played in the same tournaments, but women often received less than 50 percent for their purses as men. Casals and King, double partners who won five Wimbledon and two U.S. Open crowns, teamed up to protest the inequities and that led to the WTA’s creation.
King recalled the circuit’s early days when even the top women’s players put up with large weekly travel expenses for the chance to clear about $2,000. “That’s if you won the singles and the doubles,” she said. Casals was the first to taste a big prize, winning $30,000 for the inaugural Family Circle Cup title in 1973. That was the largest prize awarded to a woman in any sport.
Maskell began as a British tennis champion and evolved into one of the sport’s largest promoters through his role as commentator with the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1951-91.
Fast-rising Iva Majoli beat Amanda Coetzer 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 to slip into the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup, but Mary Pierce wasted five match points and fell to 32nd-ranked Petra Begerow 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.