The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the principal organizing body of women’s professional tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women and was founded to create a better future for women’s tennis. The WTA’s corporate headquarters is in St. Petersburg, Florida, with its European headquarters in London and its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Beijing.
The Women’s Tennis Association was founded in June 1973 by Billie Jean King, and traces its origins to the inaugural Virginia Slims tournament, arranged by Gladys Heldman, sponsored by Joe Cullman, CEO of Philip Morris, and held on 23 September 1970 at the Houston Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Rosie Casals won this first event.
When the Women’s Tennis Association was founded, Billie Jean King was one of nine players that comprised the WTA, also referred to as the Original 9, that included Julie Heldman, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Dalton, Kristy Pigeon, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kerry Melville Reid, Nancy Richey, and Rosie Casals.