By 1973, "tennis is changing and TV, plus heightened fashion interest and increased participation with an estimated 15 million players (at the time), have introduced color and more street-wear looks to the courtly game." Open tennis (allowing players to make a career of the sport) started in 1968 but had its roots in the Roaring '20s with Suzanne Lenglen in 1926 and Bill Tilden in 1931 credited for paving the way. "Everything about tennis, except its essential rules, has changed from the way it was first played in 1873, when balls, clothes, players and spectators all were white," Steve Wilstein of the Associated Press noted in 1999. The last 30 years of the 20th century, "middle-class professionals, not upper-class amateurs, rule the courts. The Grand Slam events, once small, provincial affairs, now (by 1999) draw tens of thousands of spectators each day along with worldwide television audiences and millions in corporate sponsorships." Bud Collins observed, "In the 1970s, tennis became truly the 'in' sport of the great middle-class, first in the United States, then abroad."

In 1997, Sponsorship Research International asked 1000 people to name the athletes, of both sexes, they admired the most. Four of the Top 10 most admired female athletes were tennis players Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles. Back in 1988, Martina told Fort Worth Star Telegram, "Billie Jean (King) really laid the groundwork. I'm just following in the footsteps. I've had a pretty good influence, but nothing compared to what she'd done. It's like, what would have happened to Rome if Alexander the Great had never been born. I don't know what I could have done if she hadn't been there first." Billie Jean insisted, "Every generation should get better. They've got more opportunities." Chris Evert remarked, "Martina has to be considered the epitome of the perfect women athlete. The rivalry between Martina and me made each of us want to push our potential to the limit. In that way, Martina has probably made both of us better. Martina has also given previously unreleased athletic goals to many of the rank-and-file (non-professional) players."

The Virginia Slims of Indian Wells was inaugurated in 1989. In 1992, it was renamed the Evert Cup. In 1996, the men's (inaugurated in 1976) and the women's tennis events in California would be combined to become a 10-day men's and women's tournament instead of the women's tournament being held one week, followed by the men's the week after.

Watching Evonne Goolagong, who grew up in the town on the Murrimbidgee River in Australia, played in 1972 at the Maureen Connolly Brinker International Championships in Dallas, Jack Kramer made the observation, "Evonne has great natural ability. She reminds me of Lew Hoad because she makes hard shots look so easy. She has such natural talent. But she must put more spin and pace on her second service and she must tighten up her forehand before she can really dominate the field…" Chris pointed out in 1981, "The mental part is the big points, not to make unforced errors." On reflection in 1972, Evonne acknowledged, "I start well and then I seem to fizzle out. I went walkabout. People tell me I lack a killer instinct. How do you get it?"

Back in 1989, one male tennis player told the English magazine, Woman' Own, "The top 8 women are excellent at their own standard, but the rest do little more than make up the numbers, and many of them are paid a lot of money for doing it. The men get very angry about that. They know very well that the crowds that come want to see men's tennis and not women's because our game is much more exciting and isn't over in 30 minutes. It is really boring to watch. The top players know they are going to win quite easily, while any of us men could be out after the first round. Yet, they get the same money as us. A lot of the players, including myself, don't think that is fair."

Billie Jean would argue women's tennis would stand equal to the men's game, not only in prize money but in quality of play and depth of talent. She told United Press International in 1978, "One youngster like Tracy (Austin) or Pam (Shriver) each year would be great. It takes time to develop talented players but they're coming up now. Women's tennis is really only 8 years old (began in 1971). Now girls are starting to play against boys at a younger age and someday it will be men versus women. I'm the pioneer and they have the bank accounts." However the New York News reported in 1976, sponsors did not recognize equal prize money at Wimbledon that year for both sexes because "women play the best of 3 sets, not the best of 5, as do men." The sponsors also believed, "The men's quality of play is far superior. Women do not draw customers the equal of men." In defense of the women's game, Arthur Ashe begged to differ, "It's a question of market value versus equal pay for equal work. Tennis is based on market value. One day women will outvalue men. They will be worth more than men. Women play the brand of tennis normal club players can identify with." In 1996, one player pointed out, "The main difference between the men's and the women's tour is that the men get along, for the most part, but the women don't." One female player conceded, "In a way, he's a little right because women are more difficult. Maybe the men are a little bit easier with each other. Women tend to get a little uptight."

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