The Mo’ne Davis world tour of sports continued this week, as the local Little League sensation came home after accepting the ESPY for ‘breakthrough athlete’ in Los Angeles this past weekend.
Prior to the Philadelphia Freedom’s World Team Tennis match, the team’s owner, Billie Jean King, said she admired Davis for the sensational performance during last year’s World Series.
“You’re a woman of few words, if I do say so, but your actions speak very loud,” King said to the phenom.
The two role models sat next to each other on the bench and made small talk during a Monday night victory for the tennis squad at Villanova University.It was an iconic moment to take in, with both representing two generations of dominance for females.
“It’s very important that people like Mo’ne do well,” King said, “to show that girls and boys should be in sports and have passions and follow their dreams.”
King, in a completely different era,competed in a “male dominant” sport, just as Davis did. The pair was a welcome site on the sidelines in a match, in a league she invented.
King won six Wimbledon singles championships and four U.S. Open titles, but her most significant moment in her career is in 1973 when she took down Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes.”
A former Freedom’s player herself, King co-founded WTT creating the unique gender-equity team concept. As one of the 20th century’s most respected and influential people, she has long been a champion for social justice and equality.
The Mylan World Team Tennis league consists of 14 game seasons stretching from July 12-29. Current franchises include the Austin Aces, Boston Lobsters, California Dream, Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers, and Washington Kastles.
The style of tennis played in the indoor professional league is much different than the tennis you may see on television. The fast-paced matches are followed back-to-back with very little down time in between.
Each team is comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Team matches consist of five sets, with one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
For every home match, the Freedoms typically play against or with a marquee player to draw a crowd. Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was slated to play for the Washington Kastles Monday night but withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Past players have included legends to the game such as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Maria Sharapova.