Fifty years on from lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, tennis royalty Billie Jean King was on Friday named Australian Open Woman of the Year.
At the launch of Tennis Australia’s #Open4all inclusion initiative, King quipped, “Don’t remind me,” referring to the date of her Melbourne triumph back in 1968.
“It’s so great to be back here after eight years,” continued the 12-time Grand Slam singles winner, recalling practicing in her youth with the likes of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall. “I first came here in 1964 and I’m indebted to the people here, you’re so welcoming and I always say that Australia made me No.1.”
King’s accolade was unveiled by Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley at the announcement of #Open4All, a wide-ranging equality, diversity and inclusion initiative that will be brought to life throughout the tournament.
“I’m excited to return to the Australian Open and to be part of this year’s tournament and the #Open4All events. This is a strong and important theme for the first Grand Slam of the year, and while we have made significant progress over the years in our sport and in society, we still have a great deal of work to do,” she said.
“Tennis is a team sport, an individual sport and with all genders participating. Not all sports can say that.