The International Tennis Hall of Fame has launched Transcending Tennis: 50 Years of the WTA, celebrating the WTA’s historic 50th anniversary season in 2023. For the next six months, the ITHF will highlight the significant accomplishments, milestones, and lasting impact of 50 years of women’s professional tennis.

Transcending Tennis’ wide-ranging digital content began today with a video directed by award-winning filmmaker Katie Walsh, with narration written and voiced by tennis commentator Mary Carillo.

“I wasn’t around at the dawn of the WTA. In its estimable timeline, I got there for brunch, and never left,” said Carillo. “Getting a seat at that table has given me everything I have ever gotten in my life, and I’m glad to play a role in the ITHF’s celebration of this vital tennis history.”

YouTube video

The short-form piece serves as the introduction to a new museum exhibit, set to open in Newport, R.I. later this month. Featuring written commentary by longtime tennis journalist Cindy Shmerler, Transcending Tennis will showcase notable artifacts and imagery from iconic moments in women’s tennis alongside pivotal junctures in the global women’s rights movement.

“As a teenager, I, along with millions of other burgeoning feminists, screamed at the television until Billie Jean King wrapped up her victory over Bobby Riggs,” said Shmerler. “And I cried when Gladys Heldman and the Original 9 held up their $1 bills, heralding the birth of women’s professional tennis. The enormous risks and even greater rewards of their actions had a profound effect on me. 

“Whether their room was wallpapered in posters of Billie Jean, Rosie, Martina, Chrissie, Steffi, Monica, Venus, Serena, Ashleigh or Iga, every girl who has ever picked up a racket deserves a chance to succeed in this game, whether as a player, a coach, an official, a volunteer or even a journalist. I feel both privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to be a speck in the game, watching and chronicling from just outside the baseline.” 

Curated artifacts in the exhibit will include a signed poster and dollar bill by all members of the Original 9, a crystal trophy created by the WTA to celebrate Wimbledon’s granting of equal prize money in 2007, awards and memorabilia from the Virginia Slims Championships, and fashion pieces worn by women’s tennis legends on court. 

On April 11, the ITHF will debut its newest episode of TennisWorthy presented by Infosys, with Hall of Famer Billie Jean King reflecting on the founding of the WTA in 1973, and the progress of the past 50 years.  During the next six months, the ITHF will share the history of the WTA through the voices of those involved and impacted on its social media channels and online at  

Additional digital content through September will include reflections on the WTA’s impact from Hall of Famers and other leaders, reliving consequential moments in women’s tennis and the women’s rights movement.  

Follow along with Transcending Tennis: 50 Years of the WTA at the ITHF’s social media channels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter (@tennishallofame) and subscribe on YouTube

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