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Larry Scott has many fans among WTA Tour movers and shakers

Larry Scott, left, drew compliments from WTA Tour founder and former tennis champion Billie Jean King, right.

Getty Images (2008)

Larry Scott, left, drew compliments from WTA Tour founder and former tennis champion Billie Jean King, right.

Larry Scott leaves behind many admirers on the women's tennis tour, with board members and players praising his diplomatic, determined leadership style that brought about important change.

"When we hired Larry six years ago from the ATP Tour, you can imagine there was a little doubt and skepticism about whether he would truly represent the women strongly," said Lisa Grattan, a longtime WTA board member on the players side and chairwoman of the Players' Council.

"But he came in right away and began to really assess where we were and pinpoint areas where we needed to improve. Right away he began setting the pace for the next six years. He's a visionary and a great strategist, and he also knows how to build consensus. And he was able to lead the board and get us all on the same page."

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, founder of the WTA, echoed the sentiment:

"Larry's a fantastic leader. And in that role, he's very good at integrating many things — he's good with the staff; he delegates well and believes in the people who work for him; he did the Roadmap 2010 (which altered the season calendar) trying to lessen the strain on the players, and he worked on a global stage with many different factions."

King added that it was a huge plus that Scott came from the tennis world — he played for three years, winning one doubles title, and ranked as high as No. 210 on Nov. 30, 1987, in singles — and always kept the players at the forefront.

"That's who he represents — and he tried to make it work for them, and also for sponsors so the players can make the big bucks," she said. "He always met with players to give and get feedback. And he really does care about our sport deeply."

He regards equal prize money for women as his greatest accomplishment. But he is also proud of other contributions such as his role in the use of electronic line-calling at matches, oncourt coaching, prematch player interviews and shortened doubles matches.

"I'm sad to see Larry move on in his professional career," said two-time defending Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, whom Scott often consulted on decisions affecting the athletes. "He has been a strong visionary leader for the tour and done so much for players. I wish him and his family all the best in the next chapter in their lives."

Added Grattan: "We're sorry to see him go because he not only brought us to the next level from a business perspective, but he never forgot the human side of it all."

Fast facts

Road to equality

1968Billie Jean King wins Wimbledon, awarded $375; men's winner Rod Laver gets $1,000

1973 — WTA Tour formed at the Gloucester Hotel in London during Wimbledon. It commits to making equal prize money a reality at the four Grand Slams

1973 — U.S. Open offers equal prize money to men and women

1978 — Wimbledon winner Bjorn Borg receives $9,500; Martina Navratilova $8,050

2000 — Australian Open offers equal prize money

2003 Larry Scott becomes CEO of the WTA, replacing former Nike executive Kevin Wolff

2006 — French Open offers equal prize money for the men's and women's champion but not the entire draw

2006 — Wimbledon winner Roger Federer earns $327,500; Amelie Mauresmo gets $312,500

2007 — Wimbledon and French offer equal prize money throughout the draw

2009 — For the first time in the history of the sport, in addition to all four Grand Slams offering equal prize money, year-end Sony Ericsson Championships and top four combined events on women's and men's tours offer equal prize money

Source: On the Baseline Tennis News

Larry Scott has many fans among WTA Tour movers and shakers 06/27/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 27, 2009 9:32pm]
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