Tennis icon Billie Jean King co-founded World Team Tennis (WTT) with Larry King, her then-husband, in 1974. and the words she used to describe the organization's intent appear to resonate with tennis fans more today than ever before. King says, 'We're a team sport. We're all about equality. We have equal men and women on each team. The reason I love it, if children come out to watch, they see men and women.' Right now, there are six league teams around the country, the New York Empire, Philadelphia Freedoms, Washington Kastles, Austin Aces, Orange County Breakers and Springfield Lasers. For a few weeks each summer, the teams compete against each other to take home the King Trophy. 'It's men and women working together,' says King. 'In leadership and supporting roles, but more important is the competition. Whoa. It gets tense.' King says her original intention was to start something that would be more like watching basketball. 'I want tennis to be a team sport,' she says. 'I want it to have equality. I want men and women. I want it to go fast. I don't want it to last more than two and a half hours. I want the players on the court. I want mascots. I want it like a basketball game.' Fast forward to today, WTT pioneered the use of music during matches and introduced color boxes on the court. It also was the first to hit balls into the stands and allow fans to keep any found balls. Over the past 41 years, many of the world's best-known players have participated in the circuit including King, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Serena and Venus Williams, Martin Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Michael Chang and Jim Courier, among others. King wants the game to be more like basketball. Just last year, Mylan WTT became only the fifth major pro team sports league in the U.S. to reach the 40th season mark behind the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Despite having just six teams across the country. King hopes more cities will start their own teams. The name sponsor is Mylan (MYL) ; the presenting sponsor is Citi (C) . TheStreet's Ruben Ramirez spoke with King at Forest Hills Stadium at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens.
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