Cari Buck, USPTA Vice President

For as long as I can remember, the sports industry has been dominated by men…women have been fighting for more recognition, equal pay and respect. And now, more than ever people are taking notice.  With the recent Team USA win at the World Cup over the Netherlands, the fight for equality in sports is once again on the forefront.  Even Billie Jean King got in on the action on twitter.

But this isn’t a new issue for tennis. In 1968, the introduction of Open Tennis didn’t do much to improve things for the women who played the sport. In fact, the prize money gap between men and women continued to grow and the women were continually relegated to outside courts, but in 1970, despite threats of being banned from the Grand Slams, the “Original 9” rocked the tennis world. With the support of World Tennis Magazine publisher Gladys Heldman, and Joe Cullman, Chairman of Philip Morris, the Virginia Slims Tour was born, with nine women signing $1 contracts to play. The Original 9 included Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Judy Dalton, Kerry Melville Reid, Julie Heldman, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon and Valerie Ziegenfuss.  As the tour grew, so did their momentum. In 1973, the WTA was formed. The Virginia Slims Tour showcased women as a force to be recognized. They fought for what they felt was right, what they deserved and what they had earned.  

It is no secret that men still out-number women in tennis, both on and off the court, but women are making headway.  What do you get when you combine hundreds of tennis pros, eleven fabulous speakers and the glitz of Las Vegas?  Day 3 of the 2019 USPTA World Conference.  We have World Conferences with great speakers every year, so what makes September 24, 2019 so special you ask?  Not only is it a day full of world class speakers, these speakers are all women! It’s Ladies Day at the World Conference… Events like this give our female pros a chance to shine.  I hear story after story about women in our industry having to work harder, earning less money, getting fewer breaks, etc. These speakers have not let that stop them and have become leaders in our industry, again not sitting idly by. They are making a difference and making themselves heard.

They also come from different backgrounds in the industry including coaches, tennis directors, sports psychologists, authors and fitness just to name a few. Let’s take a closer look at the line-up:

Building a Championship Culture at Your Club - Kathy Toon
Creating Space on Groundstrokes - Sarah Stone
Creative Programming for Adults - Katie Dellich
Redefining the Tennis Parent - Marianne Werdel and Debbie Graham Shaffer
One Doubles System for All Levels of Play - Rosie Bareis
The Positive Coaching Alliance-Double-Goal Coach, Culture, Practices and Games - Carrie Zarraonandia
Athlete-Centered Coaching: Pursuit of Performance and Personal Excellence - Kim Bastable
How to Incorporate Fitness into your Programming & Why it’s Good for Your Business - Michele Krause
How Your Personality Can Make Your Coaching Shine - Amanda Fink
The Future is Bright: Unique Success Tips for the Business Tennis Pro/Dir. of Sports - Paula Scheb

You can learn more about this outstanding line-up of speakers at

The 2019 USPTA World Conference is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.  It is always an amazing week full of great education and speakers, a chance to catch up with colleagues and share ideas, and on September 24th, a showcase for some of the best women in the biz.