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"It was an unfair system and it had to change"- When Chris Evert and others paid tribute to the Original 9 

Chris Evert, Pam Shriver and Tracy Austin paid tribute to the Original 9
Chris Evert, Pam Shriver and Tracy Austin paid tribute to the Original 9

Chris Evert, Tracy Austin and Pam Shriver each paid tribute to the 'Original 9' for their impact on women's tennis in 2020.

Led by Billie Jean King, the Original 9 are a group of nine tennis players who broke away from the tennis governing bodies because of the difference in pay between men and women in the sport. This group formed the Virginia Sims Circuit, now known as the WTA tour.

Other players in the Original 9 included Rosemary Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kristy Pigeon, and Valerie Ziegenfuss.

Austin, Evert and Shriver paid tribute to the Original 9 in a video on the International Tennis Hall of Fame's YouTube channel in 2020.

"One word to describe the Original 9 is gutsy," Tracy Austin said.

Evert hailed their courage and conviction to get their message out to the rest of the world.

"Courage and conviction. They were courageous, they were daring and they had conviction to get the message out to not only women's sports but to the rest of the world. Women are equal to men," the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion said.

Shriver stated that the Original 9 went against the tennis establishment, which lowered their chances of playing in any of the Grand Slams.

"50 years ago, they had to go against the tennis establishment, they had to go against the fact that they may not be able to play any of the majors," the former Doubles World No. 1 said.

Chris Evert further added that the tennis system was unfair and it needed change.

"It was an unfair system and it had to change," the former World No. 1 said.

"Thank you Original 9 for putting money in our pockets"- Chris Evert

Chris Evert in action at the 1982 Wimbledon Championships
Chris Evert in action at the 1982 Wimbledon Championships

Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, and Pam Shriver all thanked the Original 9 for their impact on women's tennis during the closing stages of the video.

Evert thanked the group for putting money in the pockets of not only female tennis players but of other sports as well.

"Thank you Original 9 for putting money in our pockets and thank you for also transcending into other sports and putting money in other sports' pockets as well. You're true pioneers and I jsut want you to know how much I appreciate you," the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion said.

Austin said that every generation after the Original 9 would be grateful to them for their willingness to become a pioneer in women's tennis.

"Every generation behind you has to be so full of gratitude for your willingness, to be bold, to be brave, to be a pioneer," the two-time US Open champion said.
"Original 9, to each and every one of you, thank you," Shriver added.

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Edited by Anirudh
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