HBO Sports to Re-Air Documentary BILLIE JEAN KING: PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER

Billie Jean King

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Title IX Statute of the Education Amendments of 1972, the USTA will host the sixth annual Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium today during the 2017 US Open. USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Katrina Adams will be joined by International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King and “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts for a panel event to discuss the historic impact Title IX has had on women in sports, on and off the playing fields.

The event is the annual conference of the Diversity and Inclusion in Sports Consortium (DISC). The Symposium is presented by the members of DISC, including, MiLB, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, PGA of America, PGA Tour, RISE, USOC, USTA and You Can Play, as well as US Open broadcast sponsor ESPN, highlighting D&I best practices in the sports industry. Symposium attendees include Diversity & Inclusion practitioners, leaders of the DISC member organizations, leaders from sports business partners and related companies, as well as New York-based corporate D&I leaders.

Also in conjunction with the Title IX anniversary, HBO is re-airing its 2006 documentary on Billie Jean King. Not coincidentally, I’m sure, I started seeing promos for the upcoming film – BATTLE OF THE SEXES – about the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs match during last night’s US Open tv coverage, as well. It seems everyone is paying close attention to this ground-breaking legislation and the woman behind it.

 

Per release from HBO . . .

The HBO Sports presentation BILLIE JEAN KING: PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER explores the personal and professional life of the landmark athlete and activist, whose remarkable career on the tennis court was equaled only by her impact on the struggle for women’s equality during the 1970s. The acclaimed film, which debuted in April of 2006 on HBO, will have an encore play on the network SUNDAY, SEPT. 3 (6:30 p.m. ET/PT). The documentary tells the story of an athlete who revolutionized sports for women, and in the process encouraged women to pursue endeavors outside the traditional realm of the home.

There will be a special encore airing on Wednesday, September 20 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on the HBO2 service, 44 years to the day when Billie Jean King scored her landmark win over Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome in Houston.

Other replays include Monday, September 4 at 11:45 a.m. ET/PT (HBO2) & Friday, Sept. 22 at 4:40 p.m. ET/PT (HBO).

Born Billie Jean Moffitt on Nov. 22, 1943, in Long Beach, Cal., King was the daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a firefighter father. She honed her tennis game on public courts in Long Beach, and won her first noteworthy championship in 1961 in the Wimbledon doubles competition with partner Karen Hantze. King won her first singles championship at Wimbledon in 1966, which led to her number-one world ranking.

BILLIE JEAN KING: PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER takes an in-depth look at King’s rise as an international icon of women’s equality, with the defining moment coming on Sept. 20, 1973. On that day, King battled former 1939 men’s Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs in a match that King herself said would “ruin the women’s tennis tour and affect all women’s self-esteem” if she was not victorious. In the contest, termed the “Battle of the Sexes,” the 29-year-old King “manhandled” the older and slower Riggs, defeating him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. An estimated 90 million television viewers worldwide witnessed the victory of the pioneer whose ultimate mark on society far surpassed her 39 Grand Slam titles.

This exclusive presentation features HBO Sports’ acclaimed combination of rare footage, archival photos and revealing interviews, with King herself speaking openly and honestly about her life on and off the court. She discusses the impact of having her private life made public, and her emergence as a leader in the gay community.

The US Open is Here!

US OpenI know I’m a couple of days late here, but there is so much going on with the 2017 US Open right now, and, even though I won’t be there for another 13 days, I wanted to bring y’all up to speed!

First of all, the Qualies . . . one of the best parts of the Open because (a) it’s free and (b) you can see some of the hungriest players in the world battling for a coveted spot in the Main Draw (and a $50,000 paycheck just for making it in!). Even getting into the Qualies comes with a paycheck for these players, though it’s significantly smaller than what they can potentially earn by making it through 3 rounds and into the Big Show.

This year’s US Open Qualies includes some of the best junior and college players as well, thanks to wildcards. The Kalamazoo and San Diego 18s runners-up – JJ Wolf (a rising sophomore at Ohio State) and Kelly Chen (a rising freshman at Duke) – each received a wildcard but, unfortunately, both lost their first-round qualies matches. Bobby Knight of College Tennis Today is posting updates on all the qualies matches involving college players, so be sure to check out his site each day this week. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis is keeping an eye on both the college and junior players competing, so check out her site, too.

Secondly, the US Open Juniors . . . wildcards were announced this week for the qualifying and main draw of the Junior event (see below). Qualies begin Friday, September 1, and the Main Draw will start Sunday, September 3. Since many of the early-round matches are held on the outer courts outside of the main gate, you can stop by and watch the world’s top juniors compete free of charge. You can also expect to see college coaches from all around the US there scouting for their teams, so it’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself and get to know them a bit.

Thirdly, watching the pros practice . . . through this Sunday (August 27) you can enter the grounds free of charge. In addition to seeing those playing in the qualifying, you can also watch some of the biggest names in the game descend on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to acclimate to the courts and get ready for their first-round matches. If you’re in the area, you should definitely try to get out there over the next few days and watch these men and women practice – it’s incredible to hear the sound of the ball coming off their racquet and see their footwork up close and personal!

Fourthly, the US Open Experience at the Seaport District NYC . . . today and tomorrow you can see booths, games, music and more, and an introduction to Net Generation, the USTA’s new platform that is making it easier for kids and teens to get into tennis. Plus, on Friday the US Open Draws will be unveiled.

Lastly, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Powered by Net Generation . . . this Saturday beginning at 9:30am. Per the US Open website, “The free Grounds Festival offers interactive games, music and tennis activities for all ages and abilities to promote the many health benefits of tennis. The Grounds Festival also features a free concert with exciting up-and-coming talent on the Festival Stage hosted by Radio Disney. Proceeds from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefit the USTA Foundation which helps fund the National Junior Tennis & Learning Network (NJTL), a nationwide group of more than 500 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education and life-skills programming to more than 225,000 children each year, founded 48 years ago by Arthur Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder.”

One of the things that makes the US Open so special is the myriad events offered outside of watching tennis! For a complete list of happenings at this year’s tournament, be sure to visit USOpen.org

Also, be sure to download the US Open app which will keep you updated on livescoring, draws, results, and other happenings around the grounds such as the player’s practice schedules and live concerts. If you’re an American Express card holder and you’ll be on site at all during the next two weeks, you can register your card through the app to receive discounts and a rebate when you shop at any of the tournament stores.

As I mentioned above, I won’t be there until September 6th, and I hope to see many of you during my 4 days there. If you’re around, please reach out to me so we can meet – y’all know how much I enjoy connecting live and in person!

US Open Juniors Wildcards

Boys main draw:
Andrew Fenty (17, Washington, D.C.; Coach: Asaf Yamin)
Ryan Goetz (17, Greenlawn, N.Y.; Coaches: Matt Gordon, Keith Kamborian, Chris Goetz)
Lukas Greif (17, Newburgh, Ind.; Coaches: Bryan Smith, Stephanie Hazlett)
Brandon Nakashima (15, San Diego; Coaches: Larry Stefanki, Christian Groh)
Axel Nefve (17, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coach: Nick Saviano)
Sangeet Sridhar (17, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Coach: Lou Belken)
TBD: French reciprocal
TBD

Boys qualifying draw:
William Grant (16, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coach: Juan Alberto Viloca)
Trey Hilderbrand (17, San Antonio; Coach: Mark Hilderbrand)
Govind Nanda (16, Cerritos, Calif.; Coach: Vahe Assadourian)
Brian Shi (17, Jericho, N.Y.; Coach: Andre Daescu)
Yuta Kikuchi (Japanese High School Champion)
TBD

Girls main draw:
Angelica Blake (16, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coaches: Nick Saviano, Eric Riley)
Kelly Chen (18, Cerritos, Calif.; Coach: Debbie Graham)
Salma Ewing (16, Long Beach, Calif.; Coaches: Reyana Ewing)
Abigail Forbes (16, Raleigh, N.C.; Coach: Cameron Moore)
Cori Gauff (13, Delray Beach, Fla.; Coach: Gerard Loglo)
Natasha Subhash (15, Fairfax, Va.; Coach: Bear Schofield, Bob Pass)
Katie Volynets (15, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Richard Tompkins, Mark Orwig)
TBD

Girls qualifying draw:
Elvina Kalieva (14, Staten Island, N.Y.; Coach: Nick Saviano)
Gabriella Price (14, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coach: Rick Macci)
Charlotte Owensby (14, Boca Raton, Fla.; Coach: Yulia Beygelzimer)
Nikki Redelijk (15, Windermere, Fla.; Coach: Ferdinand Redelijk)
Marina Kurosu (Japanese High School Champion)
TBD

Boys Will Be Boys Update

We just got back from the orthopedist.  The Good News is that there is nothing torn or broken in my son’s knee.  The Bad News is that he has to continue to avoid any lateral movement on the tennis court for the next 2-3 weeks while the bruising continues to heal.  That means no camp with Carlos Goffi next week, which is a big bummer for sure!  But, it also means no physical therapy and no surgery, which is a HUGE RELIEF!

On another note, I got word today that I’ve been approved to have Media Credentials for this year’s US Open – I’m beyond excited!  So, my task for the next few weeks is to come up with a game plan for what I will cover and how I will report from the Billie Jean King Tennis Center.  If you have any suggestions for me, please share them in the Comments below.

Hope y’all all have a very happy – and safe! – 4th of July.