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The “What Moves You” program is designed to help you make the most of all of your talents and introduce you to a lifetime of fulfillment—from philanthropy to entrepreneurship.
Hear from current and retired players about the most important things they’ve learned, on and off the court.
Alice Milligan: Welcome. I'm Alice Milligan, Chief Marketing Officer at Morgan Stanley, and I'm thrilled to welcome clients, guests, and colleagues from across the country to today's program, Lessons in Leadership with Tennis Legend, Chris Evert, and Women's Tennis Association, president Micky Lawler. Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley and the WTA announced a new multi-year global partnership to foster inclusivity and expand access to the game of tennis.
Together we're helping break boundaries and provide opportunities for a new generation of player, both on and off the court, including the launch of our new financial empowerment program, What Moves You, for the WTA players. So, who better to help discuss the power, impact and history of the game than Chris and Micky? A little bit of an intro, Micky has been the president of the WTA since 2014 where she has spearheaded significant growth for fans, athletes, events and partnerships. Micky has a fully international perspective. She's lived in nine countries and speaks five, yes, five languages fluently.
And of course, Chris needs no introduction, a tennis icon. Chris dominated women's tennis for much of the seventies and eighties, winning 18 grand slam titles after retiring. She served as the president of the WTA for nine years and is a regular contributor for NBC Sports and ESPN. Without further ado, it's my pleasure to welcome Chris Evert and Micky Lawler.
Chris Evert: Thank you.
Micky Lawler: Thank you, Alice.
Alice Milligan: How are you?
Chris Evert: Good. I only speak one language by the way.
Alice Milligan: I know. So, I'm good. I barely speak one language, speak very well. So let me give you a quick note about today's format. Chris, Micky and I are going to chat for about 30 minutes, after which we'll open the floor to the audience. Please submit questions via the text box under your video player on your screen, and you can submit as many questions as you like. Please keep in mind we have a large, large audience and a limited time, so we'll try to get to as many questions as possible, but we may not get to your question, so I apologize in advance.
So, let's get to the first question. This year marks the landmark anniversary for the game of tennis and equality in sports, and Micky, we've talked a lot about these 50 years since the Battle of the Sexes, 50 years since the founding of the WTA and 50 years since the US opens first equal prize money for men and women. So, if you think about that, and I'll ask Chris this first question, how did you feel as being one of the first women in 1971 where you had turned pro and you were able to really take advantage and be a beneficiary of the WTA a's efforts?
Chris Evert: Okay, first of all, I was a teenager, I was 16 years old, and I didn't know what the heck was going on. I was oblivious. I was still in 10th grade, and I was worrying about what boys were going to talk to me. Okay, so the last thing on my mind was equality, empowerment for women. I would watch the TV and see Gloria Steinem and they would be doing demonstrations, the bra burning seventies, but I really didn't have the true concept of what was going on. I mean, later on I did, I understood it. Billie Jean King, who was really our pioneer, she would explain exactly what was going on to me.
But I remember there was a lot of excitement and I mean in the air and the women tennis players were really excited at the prospect of equality equal prize money. Before then, we were getting like 10% of the prize money that the men were getting. So there needed to be a really rebellious kind of a push there. And thank God for Billie Jean King because she was really the leader of the pack.
Alice Milligan: And Micky, if you think about it, there was the original nine. What was the basis of the WTA? What was it founded on?
Micky Lawler: It was founded to enable every girl, no matter where she came from, to be able to make a living as a professional tennis player. And as Chris said at the time, the original nine went away to start their own tour because it was not right for them to make a 10 to one ratio and they couldn't make a living at those numbers. So, they went away and formed their own tour. They didn't expect equal prize money because it was the right thing to do. They went to prove that they too could build a sustainable business model that would set the foundation for the WTA to grow to what it is today.
And when the US Open went to equal prize money in 1973, Billy said to the USTA leadership at the time, we really need this. And she came with a solution that was given to them by Bristol Myers in the form of a sports grant sponsorship to make up the difference in prize money with the brand Ban, which was a deodorant. So, everybody worked for this.
Alice Milligan: Great. It's remarkable to see how far equality in sports has come and yet there's so much more to do and so much further to go. In fact, women's sports have traditionally received a mere one to 2% of total sports investments. I think that's one of the reasons why Morgan Stanley is so proud to be working with the WTA in partnering with you in our global partnership because increasing visibility, increasing investment in the sport is really important. I'm going to start with you, Micky again, to say, if you think about the progress in terms of representation in the sport for women, what do you think is the next boundary that needs to be broken or the next big thing that we need to address?
Micky Lawler: Well, it is a journey and what you have done for the WTA, in addition to the financial investment, the fact that you're giving us the gift of education, financial literacy for our players, the ability to plan for the future starting now is priceless. Really, really priceless. So, for the next boundaries to be crossed, I think more people need to do what you've so generously done. And your visionary ways I think are a win-win for both organizations. You've also created an ad that is on network television with Leylah Fernandez, one of our athletes with you and with us. And that's again, a massive, to give us that kind of exposure is really, really huge.
So, by partnering with us in the way that you have, you are helping us break those next boundaries. The other thing I'm going to say is that this year, not for the first time, the Women's Final at the US Open had a larger audience than the men's finals. So, the idea that the media value is not equal to the men, that is boundary broken. And so, we need to follow that up with investment on the media side and the exposure the size of the platform is what drives that. So, I think we're getting there.
Alice Milligan: And one of the things that we've done this year together as a team is create the “What Moves You” financial empowerment program as part of our partnership. And what's important there is there's three key pillars. There's access to advice with our global sports and entertainment financial advisors who specialize in advising athletes and the different complexities that exist when you're an athlete. The second is around financial education, which we talked about.
And then the third is this aspect of leadership, which the players told us was really important, which is all around tennis is one aspect of who I am, but there's life after tennis at some point. So how do I think about being an entrepreneur or a founder? How do I build my team? And so that leadership element is important. So, Chris, we talk about, especially in corporate America, glass ceilings and you've broken so many glass ceilings in your career.
If you think about it, you're the first player, male or female to reach a million dollars in career prize money in 1976, you're the first and sole woman to be named Sports Illustrated person of the year, sports person of the year in '76, and then the first female athlete to host Saturday Night Live show. If you think about your grit and your vision and just the tenacity that you've had always being in the public eye, can you give us some advice on how you accomplished those great things and tune out the noise or the criticism of the voices that you may hear,
Chris Evert: You brought up a lot of good points there. That's amazing. You know what, I achieved all that because I was handed the opportunity from Billie Jean King in the original nine. I mean, I thank God every day that Billie Jean King was a tennis player and not a golfer or not in any other sport because what she's done for our sport has been unbelievable. And you have to understand also the culture 50 years ago was so different. The culture was so different, and it was a man's world and women were second class citizens and the men were the breadwinners. The men invested the money, the women took care of the families. I mean, they were the roles.
And that, the last 50 years, that's changed so much now. But we got to keep going because we still, even the tennis world, yes, we have equality in majors, but we don't have equality in the rest of the tournaments all year round. And the sponsorship is still paying the men more money than the women. So, we still have to work on that and we have to work on other women's sports as well. So, when you asked me, I had a lot of firsts, but I thank Billie Jean and the generation before me because they're the ones that gave me that opportunity. And I ran with it, just ran with it.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, which I think is important. We talk a lot about as women in different industries paying it forward. And so, they did that for you, but then you paid it forward to the next generation through all the things that you accomplished and your grit and your vision as well. So, thank you.
Micky Lawler: And then some, and I would tell you in 1976, I was 15. And to me, Chris was my Taylor Swift. I lived in Bolivia, no in Kenya at the time when I was 15.
Alice Milligan: One of those nine countries and five languages.
Micky Lawler: Sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to sound so - no, but what I meant to say was that I observed very closely, wow, Chris Evert is incredible. And I don't say this because you're sitting here, but it was a huge influence in my life on the other side of the world. And so, it is remarkable, this tour has gone from generation to generation, and everyone has paid it forward.
Chris Evert: Contributed, everyone's contributed something different because Billie Jean, I mean, that was the leadership vision really fighting. And then next, I came up next and I think if I was to do anything, it was to influence young girls that it's okay to be athletic, it's okay to have muscles, it's okay to sweat, you can still be feminine and you can still have a normal life and boys and I mean you can still just be a kid.
Alice Milligan: I'd be competitive. I think what was interesting, Chris and I thought really resonated with me when I think about you is just that competitive spirit and the competition between you and Martina. It showed girls that yeah, you can be competitive and still be a good person and still do all these other things. And I think that was an important message as well.
Micky Lawler: Thank you. Yeah, thank you.
Alice Milligan: So, I'm going to change the table's a little bit. One piece of the sport that people don't always think about is tennis players and their pay. You only get paid if you play or if you have sponsorships, for example, when you're at the heart of it. And so, thinking through how to budget your finances and how do I plan for the future is really important. As I mentioned, that's why we launched What Moves You, our new financial empowerment program. And that's really a critical piece of things.
Chris, I'll start with you maybe. And you think about the importance of managing your finances, having a diversified portfolio, those are things you've talked about. What piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation, whether its lessons learned or just in general as you think about managing your finances in your future?
Chris Evert: I think, first of all, my advice would be to get involved and to get educated at an early age. Because when I started making money again, I was 15, 16 years old. And my father, who was great, he majored in economics, and we had good support financial advisor as well, and we did fine. But if I was to go back, I would be more involved and would've been in on those meetings and kind of learned about the bonds and stocks and real estate and what are good investments and oh, just because I'm making money, that means, it doesn't mean I can spend it.
Because as you said, tennis players, they might have a 15-year career, they might have a 20-year career or they might break their leg or get severely injured after three years, and then what are they going to do? So, I guess my advice would be to really get somebody who is a professional and you respect and who's going to teach you the trade and you have to ask, you should ask a lot of questions, don't blow your money.
I was always on the conservative side. I was like, I told my dad, look, you don't have to make a big amount of money for me on my returns, but don't lose any money because I just was conservative that way. But really information is power, and it empowers you. Empowers a woman to know early on since she's earning some money, she's earning the money that she should be involved in where it's invested. But in order to do that, you have to be knowledgeable, so you have to focus on what you're learning and it's not easy.
Alice Milligan: And Micky, what would be the one piece of advice you'd pass on if you think about next generation? And that could be with finance as well as one of the topics we've talked about a lot has been building your team. How do you get the right people around you? You've had to both do that, whether it's when you were playing or in your current capacity as president.
Micky Lawler: Yeah, I would say that that is actually the most important piece of the puzzle is surround yourself with good people, remain curious, keep growing and enjoy the present of course, but plan for the future now. And you have to, like any budget planning, you have to plan for best case, worst case, probable case. And in the life of an athlete, as Chris said, it's not a 50-year career. So, you're going to, in the best case, you're going to do very well quickly for a short amount of time. And then that money has to potentially last you a lifetime.
And I also think that children in high school, they're not taught about basic financial skills and that is very important. I can tell you education is very expensive in this country, well in all countries, but you invest all this money in their education and then a basic life skill is not can they balance a checkbook when they graduate from high school? No. And that should be part of the curriculum.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, good point.
Chris Evert: I agree 100%. Good point. I didn't learn anything in school, of course I didn't go to college, I joined the tour, but probably they need to teach kids at younger age and a lot of the stuff they teach in schools, the kids don't necessarily need it later on in life, but this is one thing that is vital.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, agree. I know when I think about it, when I was younger and early in my career things, I didn't know that I know now, just many companies give you a 401k, it's one of the most important investments that you can make. And I think probably the first eight years of my career, I didn't even invest in the 401k, I got myself into a ton of credit card debt before I learned, okay, think about this. You can use your credit card but pay it off and those types of things. So, it's really critical. The younger you learn, the better you are long-term. So let me ask Chris, one thing that I know you've talked a lot about is your foundations and some of the philanthropic work to give back to the community and society overall. Tell us a little bit about why you're so passionate about that.
Chris Evert: Because I feel like I've been, I've led kind of a charm life when it comes to my career. Not necessarily when it comes to my private life, but when it's come to my career, I was doing something that I was passionate about and making a lot of money. So, I got a lot from tennis and it's time for me to give back to the tennis world. So, I am the chairman of Chairwoman of the USTA Foundation, which is all about helping underserved children in communities. And we have over 200 programs in America where we combine education and tennis and that just brings up a lot.
They're afterschool programs, so they can play tennis, they can get tutoring, they can get mentoring. We talk a lot about mental health. They can talk about their life and what's going on. And to me, I just want to be a mentor now to kids and I want to be a teacher because I feel like I've so many, I've had so much experience in life, good times and bad times, and I've seen so much in my world that I feel like I have some knowledge and some advice that's valuable for kids.
And I have a tennis academy also in Boca Raton, but that's more of a business for me. But it's not all about hitting tennis balls, it's really about talking to these kids and listening to them and making them feel like they're valuable and what they have to say is valuable. It's all about communication.
Micky Lawler: And actually, to that point, when we partnered with Morgan Stanley, we launched a program called Come Play, which is very similar to what you're doing with the USTA Foundation. We did two events, one in London and one here in Harlem and three,
Chris Evert: And we did one in Charleston.
Micky Lawler: And one in Charleston. Good. Thanks for inviting me. You're right.
Alice Milligan: Next time.
Micky Lawler: We wanted to get it right.
Alice Milligan: Okay.
Micky Lawler: Before we invited you.
Alice Milligan: Before we brought in the big guns. That's great. Congratulations. That's great.
Micky Lawler: And we brought girls to the trading floor and to Morgan Stanley to the offices and showed these young girls that you too can have a career in finance. You don't, math doesn't have to scare you. And there's more than finance to have a career in finance. So, it was really eye-opening and a wonderful initiative.
Chris Evert: Can I just say, I would just like to tell women out there and girls out there that, I mean, and nothing against men, but it's not a man's world anymore. To me, I'd rather be a woman than a man because we can have it all now. And we have all these choices. We have all these choices in the workplace. We have choices in education, we have choices if we want to have children, we have choices if we want to get married. It's unlimited to what we can do, and this is the culture that we're in now. So that's the way girls should think is in a positive way.
Alice Milligan: It's interesting, you bring up a really interesting point, Chris, which is sometimes when you have all that choice and opportunity, people think I have to do everything. I have to have everything. And we spend a lot of time talking about is it work life balance or is it blend or what is the way you think about life and work and balancing everything. And both of you have had really big meaningful and important careers and families. So how do you think about that? Is it balance or blend or how did you manage a very heavy travel schedule, which I know, Micky, you have and family and responsibilities with your family?
Micky Lawler: Well, there is no one stop shopping. There's no one answer. I think life happens in chapters when the children are very young, and they can travel with you. You bring them on the road with you when they go to school, then it has to shift. Balance to me is a very nice, lofty goal that is very hard to achieve. One day, yes. The other day, no, most days, no. But when people say you need to have boundaries between work and family, I never had those boundaries. But I think the children who are now adults, they benefited a lot from that. It was just a whole family affair, and they all work in sports now.
Chris Evert: You had a supportive father, I mean, not your father, but your husband and partner. I think in this day and age, it's important for the men to be supportive. If their wives are working and they're working, they've got to kind of pitch in a little bit more than they've had to than ever before. And that's an added bonus for the kids to maybe have dad's attention a little bit more than in past generations.
Alice Milligan: So, every year it seems like we get to the US Open, and I'll use that as an example because it's just most recently and there's a ton of excitement, a ton of buildup. As you mentioned, Micky, viewership this year was through the roof. And in particular for the women's final, it was higher than the men's final. All of that gets back to one of the things we've talked about a lot when we've talked about our partnership, but you have to see it to be it. And Billie Jean King talks about that a lot. But being able to see a role model like you doing something that you would aspire to do is important. So, I'll start with you maybe, Micky, and maybe tell us who inspired you and why.
Micky Lawler: I'll say it again. It was Chris and of course there were a lot of people who inspired.
Alice Milligan: Now I got to take notes. It was Chris too.
Micky Lawler: And then I met you.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, that's right.
Micky Lawler: And that added to the team of inspiration. But we're very fortunate because we work with a lot of super inspiring people, and we're surrounded by really great people. But early on, I didn't know that one could have a career in tennis. And I knew that I would never be a champion like Chris, but I find it extremely ironic. And my grandmother, who was a huge tennis fan, I often think of her, and I think, God, if you could see that I'm sitting next to our idol, we would sit for hours in front of the television and analyze this and that. And in Holland there was a magazine called Prive, and Prive was a gossip magazine. And my mother, my father, no, you cannot buy that magazine, but my grandmother, yes, let's buy it. And when Chris was on the cover, which she often was, we would devour that news. It was fascinating. So, a lot of inspiration all over.
Chris Evert: Oh my heavens.
Alice Milligan: That's funny.
Chris Evert: That's really good. You liked me because the tabloids, thanks a lot. So anyway, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I know, I'm teasing. I'm teasing.
Alice Milligan: You have to get copies of that. It was juicy.
Micky Lawler: It was very juicy.
Chris Evert: I think my, first of all, you have role models for different reasons. I, Billie Jean was definitely a role model for me because she was the generation before me that opened a lot of doors for women. And she was, I remember when she was president of the WTA, she came to me and she said, okay, I'm going to retire next year. You have to be president of the WTA. And I said, what? I was a teenager. I go, what? And she goes, yeah. I go, I know nothing about business. I know nothing about how to run a tournament. She goes, you'll learn and you're going to be, she goes, because the press listened to number one players, the press will listen.
So, I ended up being president for I don't 12 years or 11 or 12 years after that. And I mean, I finally got it probably the sixth year I was president, I finally got it. But anyway, she was great in that way. And then I had my mom who was a homemaker and a wife and a good, and a great mother. She was a role model too, but in different ways because she was great, a great parent, great mother, and she just was kind and nurturing and she had common sense. So, I think we all have different kind of role models for different reasons.
Micky Lawler: And then there's Rosie Casals who was also instrumental because Billy, she did so much to help Billy, and she did a lot of heavy lifting to create this tour. So, I admire her a lot too.
Chris Evert: She deserves more credit because she and Billy were a team a lot and doing these things together.
Micky Lawler: You need a best friend like Rosie. Everyone needs a best friend like Rosie.
Alice Milligan: So, Chris and Micky, thank you so much for this wonderful conversation. We have a lot of questions coming in from the audience, so let's get to that. The first question Sonia asks, I have a daughter who plays tennis competitively. She has worked with multiple coaches, mostly men. Time and time again across various tennis programs and facilities, all the coaches made available to her are also men. We have so many great young female players. Why do you think there are so few female coaches and what can we do to change this?
Chris Evert: Good question. I have a tennis academy with my brother, John, and we get very few resumes from women. So, you're exactly right. We get probably 10 resumes from guys and then one from a woman. You know what I'm thinking that one of the reasons is I know I look at Tracy Austin or I look at a lot of tennis pros who have retired and had children. I feel like they haven't wanted to get back out there because they want to be a mom and they want to raise their kids. I feel like again, that's a choice that they make and that's a choice that they have.
So maybe it's the scheduling, maybe then you have to go to tournaments with the kids and it's pretty demanding. But I would love to see more women coaches for sure. The other thing is one more thing. Sometimes the men can actually be the hitting partner with the woman pro as well, the male, because a lot of times the male has been on the circuit, he gets off the circuit, and this is an ideal job for him to coach a woman pro because of they can play, they can coach. And sometimes the women aren't good enough to really be hitting partners with the pro. So instead of hiring two people, they hire a man.
Micky Lawler: And we launched a program for female coaches, so a coaching inclusion program, and we are seeing change. But that reason is, I think the main reason is that it's expensive. You're traveling all over the world and not everybody can have a team of three, four people travel with you. So, if you can kill two birds with one stone, -
Chris Evert: Yeah, you just hire one man. That's what they seem to be doing. But women are just as smart and just have that, just as experience as being former players than men are. So that's a good question. Good question.
Alice Milligan: Good question. So, Barbara, who the next question's from, and this one's for Chris. I saw Martina Navratilova on the Today Show and she spoke so passionately about your friendship through competition and after you were able to be great champions, competitors and friends, something business leaders can learn from. How did you maintain a friendly relationship despite being fierce competitors? That's a great question.
Chris Evert: We weren't always close. I mean, we had 18 years together competing. So, we weren't always getting along. We weren't always friends. I mean, I think we were very competitive. I mean, I dropped her as a doubles partner because she started beating me and I wanted to be number one in the world in singles, and I felt like she knew my game too well. And then she had Nancy Lieberman as her coach, and she went through a period where Nancy Lieberman told her she had to hate Chris Evert in order to beat her.
So trust me, it wasn't all smooth sailing, but I think at the end of our career, it hit us that the two of us have something really special going as far as representing the sport of tennis. And our rivalry was maybe bigger than ourselves individually. And then we just became really good friends and we realized that we could separate on and off the court, but it took us to probably be in our late twenties, early thirties, and then our relationship blossomed because probably we felt more secure with individually. Yeah,
Alice Milligan: Yeah. Joanna asks, with so many very young players, packed schedules, worldwide travel and sponsorship obligations, how can we better support players to be sure that good mental health is a priority?
Micky Lawler: So we have been very active in this space for many, many years, and we recognize this need from very early on in our history as players, players that had a big platform spoke out about mental health, we were able to grow our team. And today we partner with Modern Health and are able to have onsite mental health support at every tournament and at the smaller 125s, we call them the developmental tournaments, to come onto the 250s, the 500s and the 1,000s. We have telehealth, tele mental health available for the players. And the whole philosophy around mental health has changed so much because now it's much more than crisis management now it's actually mental wellbeing, physical, it's part of your overall preparation to reach peak performance.
Alice Milligan: Yeah. Do you feel like having athletes like Naomi Osaka or Simone Biles sort of stand up and talk about their struggles with mental health has helped?
Micky Lawler: Yeah, it became an exponential issue during and after COVID because in addition to a very stressful existence now, you had to live in bubbles and travel with masks and tests and all of these rules and then check into a hotel for days on end until you were cleared to compete in a bubble. It became even the toughest, strongest person was having a very hard time. So it was really important for those athletes of that caliber to speak out and get the whole world behind it.
Chris Evert: Well, it's also, it used to be about pressure on the court. It is like mental health used to be, oh, I'm so nervous. And that's what they associated with mental health. And nowadays, but whole, it encompasses the whole life of a tennis pro. And right now, Naomi Osaka, for instance, let's take her for instance, her life changed completely and there are photographers waiting outside her house to take. She has no privacy whatsoever. She went from being very frugal and being a very - living in a middle-class environment to a billionaire.
And it's also the emotional component as well. It's a different lifestyle. And now with media and then the bullying that you get and people saying you stink and much worse than that, but they read all that. Social media is cruel. So it's a different culture now than it was in our day because we didn't have any of that. There's just a lot going on with the social media and this world is a different world than when I played.
Alice Milligan: So this question, Chris, is for you. So it's from Johnny. And Johnny asks, what are some of the key things your father taught you with respect to your approach to leadership?
Chris Evert: Oh my heavens. My dad was really a quiet guy who liked to be in the background. And again, I grew up in a household where there was a little fear. You respected your parents, you didn't answer them back or else you'd get spanked or whatever. And it was a different way of life back in the sixties, I think my dad taught me a lot of great things. I don't know about leadership because I kind of am not a natural born leader either.
But I think that what he taught me was humbleness, humility, not to think too highly of yourself, to have your feet on the ground, no matter how much success you have, and patience and consistency on the court as well as in life. I didn't miss a ball. I never missed a ball just to be consistent and to be mentally the focus. He taught me a lot about mentally focusing. And so the intangibles, I think he was a good role model and taught me. But leadership, I'm not quite so sure.
Alice Milligan: So let me ask you, this next question is from Albert and Lydia. Tennis has evolved from serve and volley to baseline and power tennis. Is this all due to the equipment or changes in training?
Micky Lawler: What do you think about that?
Chris Evert: Oh, thanks.
Micky Lawler: As the tennis player among us.
Chris Evert: Yeah, I mean the power game, the power game is the rackets have changed, the strings are underrated, the strings have really changed. They're providing a lot more power for the players. The players are physically in better shape, again with new science and new information out there. Tennis players now are training like Olympic athletes. And again, in our day, they weren't training like Olympic athletes. So in my day, I feel like it was good enough to be a great tennis player, but nowadays you have to be a great athlete as well as a great tennis player. So fitness has gone three, four levels up in the last few decades and the training is much more intense. What do you think?
Micky Lawler: Yeah. No, that's all true. It's a different world and nutrition has changed a lot. I mean, that doesn't have an impact on the game, but it's part of the overall approach to training and everything has to be perfect nowadays. In Chris's generation, I remember people like Ray Moore talking about having steak and eggs before a match.
Chris Evert: You're right, you're right.
Alice Milligan: Alright, so we have another question come in, Karen asks. So Chris, you've expressed gratitude for Billie Jean King and the impact she made on tennis. What advice do you give to women in other sports who are still fighting for equality?
Chris Evert: Just try to get in touch with Billie Jean King. She is open to talking to anybody, to any athlete of any sport, and she is not satisfied that just because women tennis players have equal prize money in majors, she is looking at other sports and is aware of other sports as well and is very vocal. I think she went over to Australia to watch the soccer, the women in soccer, and she's always watching the basketball and she's always watching other women's sports and willing to talk to the leaders of those sports and to give them advice and to tell them, this is how we did it. Is there any sort of way that you can use this to maybe get some more prize money or whatever to enhance your sport? So I would say that's an easy answer, easy way out for me. But I would say talk to Billie Jean.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, and I know as you talked about why you admired Billie Jean and some of those elements, I mean you talked about some of the elements that I think have been critical or were critical for her success. She knew how to think about what she was proposing. She was dogged in her determination for that. It sounds like she understood the media and how to leverage the tools that were available to her as well as relying on legacy and other people who could help you. All of those things are skills that for the next generation to think about and in other sports to leverage and use.
Chris Evert: Yeah, she also was very aware, as you said, of media. She saw that there were some really great stories with our women players. When you look at Naomi Osaka, when you look at Serena and Venus Williams, when you look at Martina Navratilova defecting from Czechoslovakia, when you look at Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, I mean, we had some really, really interesting characters and interesting women, and so you got to get their story out there. So maybe tennis being an individual sport can do that a little bit better than the team sports.
Micky Lawler: And it's about exposure. And Billy Jean, by the way, 50 years later, and she is still tireless in her pursuit, so she's still on everybody's side. And what a remarkable journey.
Alice Milligan: Our next question, Elizabeth asks, what advice would you give older tennis players who love the sport and play a ton? How have you diversified your life activities and interests apart from tennis? And was this a challenge?
Chris Evert: How do you, as an older tennis player, how do you - no, I'm kidding. We can both answer that question.
Micky Lawler: Yes, because we do it together when we're in the same city.
Chris Evert: Go ahead.
Micky Lawler: Well, so when Chris was a tennis player, of course that's what she did. Now when she commentates at the US Open, her days are very, very long.
Chris Evert: Wait, you're answering for me?
Micky Lawler: My days are very long.
Chris Evert: Oh, you answer for you. Okay.
Micky Lawler: Yeah. So we go to the gym very early and we definitely pay attention to our physical health and strength. So we devote at least an hour a day or sometimes you can't, but when you can, most of the time at the gym.
Alice Milligan: Okay.
Chris Evert: Yeah. Being an athlete, I have to exercise every day or else I feel sluggish and I feel tired and I have no energy whatsoever. So it's an addiction in the sense of then I can be so tired and I force myself to exercise and all of a sudden I'm like, I'm vital and I'm energetic and I'm thinking clearly. So I love my Peloton. I get on my Peloton, and I do arms, and I ride the bike and I do the arms, I do the interval training. I love that. I still play a little bit of tennis. I have to stretch a lot. I think when you get a little bit older, over 50, you've got to be flexible and you've got to maintain your balance. So a lot of stretching, some yoga. That's what I do. I got to keep moving.
Alice Milligan: Do you still play a lot of tennis or?
Chris Evert: I haven't played as much. I just had two surgeries in the last two years. So since my surgeries and my cancer scare, I haven't played as much. But I will get back into it for sure. I will get back into it. Yeah.
Alice Milligan: Great.
Chris Evert: Got to keep moving.
Alice Milligan: You do. Yeah. Okay. Ben asks, where do you see the future growth of the sport going both domestically and internationally?
Micky Lawler: Well, with the emergence of Coco, the interest in the US is going to skyrocket. What is amazing about professional tennis, especially women's tennis, is one athlete drives an enormous amount of interest. If you look at historically, Chrissy mentioned Steffi Graff and what happened in Germany, that was also at the same time as Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg in Sweden, Li Na in China, because of the size of the Chinese market, the footprint became very, very important in China, one athlete. And look at now the number of Chinese players, female players, the men are starting to come up as well. But it was really a female movement in China. So here in the US, I think Coco, Madison, Sloane, they're driving - Jess Pegula, a lot of interest in tennis. So I think tennis in the US is in a very healthy position.
Chris Evert: Gosh, you mentioned, I didn't even - Li Na told the Chinese government, I want to take all my prize money and you're not taking any percentage from me. I want to pick my own coach and I want to travel to tournaments that I want to travel to. That had never been done before. But she told them to their face and they changed the rules for her, Li Na. No other man had, like you said, the men didn't demand that. Li Na demanded that. What about Ons Jabeur, who
represents the African nation and the Arab nations and is such a big name, a big influence over in that part of the world.
So you're right, it's like, I mean, internationally, globally, we have so many leaders of the world that transcend tennis and that are getting into other aspects of life. It's incredible. And that makes it so exciting. But because cocoa golf has won the US Open now American tennis has had a facelift, they've got some more energy injected into them.
Micky Lawler: It's so exciting to see this. And we have athletes from over 90 countries on tour. It's remarkable. And we play in 30 countries and then smaller tournaments in many more countries. But it's truly a global movement.
Alice Milligan: And it was interesting because especially this year, I think to what you were saying, Chris, it was so exciting the US Open, it just felt like there was such great momentum. And my husband, who was not a big tennis fan, he was there cheering on Coco, and we were having a wonderful time. But then as part of our partnership, we've doing some of the come play events in different countries and our employee base and our clients in London, we're so excited to be part of it. We're in Hong Kong now, and same thing, so many clients, so many employees have been really excited. So you can really see the momentum globally that the sport and the WTA has. So it's been great.
Chris Evert: Great. I'm just going to name one more woman, Elina Svitolina, who is from Ukraine and is just a driving force in getting aid to their country. And she is like a symbol of hope for Ukraine. And she talks about all the time, and she was really the story at Wimbledon this year. So just another point.
Micky Lawler: Yeah, she has a foundation and she supports young tennis players from Ukraine who can no longer train there. So she finds them academies and homes abroad where they can continue their tennis journey. Yes, she's incredible as well.
Chris Evert: She is, isn't she? She is.
Micky Lawler: Yeah.
Alice Milligan: Great. So next question, Andrea asks, what is it like to be a female leader in sports, which is traditionally male dominated? What does the next 50 years of the sport look like?
Micky Lawler: Well, it is crystal ball.
Alice Milligan: Crystal ball action.
Micky Lawler: We talk about the next 50 years, we're doing it. We're in that next 50 years. And there are more and more female leaders in sports. And I can tell you I've been in sports close to 40 years, and I was very much alone in the early days. And the women who were there, sometimes we were not very supportive of each other. That has thankfully changed a lot. Of course, there were great women as well, but it's a completely different world today. Now there's the three of us here. 30 years ago, even 20 years ago, it would've been two men, one woman, maybe. It's really changing. So we've done it and we continue to do it, and the more success we achieve, the more we're going to advance.
Chris Evert: Little girls now want to become, they grow up and they want to become women athletes. Little girls 50 years ago wanted to become models and actresses and movie stars and beauty queens. But women, little girls now, they grow up and they look on the TV and they see Coco, or in the past they see Serena and Venus or they see the glamor of sports, they see the promise, they see all the resources that go along with it.
And women athletes are respected now. And I think that in 50 years there's going to be twice as many women athletes. I think they're going to come out of the woodwork because it is healthy, it's setting goals, it's focus, it's being strong, and it's lucrative. So it's rewarding. So I think that's going to be the next popular, if it's not already the most popular kind of career that a young girl would like to take when she gets older.
Alice Milligan: Right behind marketing, right, right behind chief marketing officer.
Chris Evert: Yes. Okay.
Alice Milligan: If you say so. Lots of questions have been coming in about your favorite tennis moments. So can each of you share one of your most favorite tennis moments?
Chris Evert: My favorite tennis moments? Oh my heavens.
Micky Lawler: There's so many.
Chris Evert: Yeah, I don't know. I can't answer that question.
Micky Lawler: So many. Before I worked for the WTA, I represented athletes and there was a French athlete who today is the tournament director of the French Open. Her name is Amelie Mauresmo. And she had been with a sports manufacturer for 14 years, since she was 14. And her contract came to an end, and this company didn't think that she would get another opportunity with a competing manufacturer. So she was number one in the world. She had not won a Grand Slam, and she had recently come out as gay.
So I remember sitting with her in Indian Wells, and she said to me, I cannot play the French Open without an endorsement of clothing and shoes. And her rackets were fine, but it was clothing and shoes. And I said to her, if it is the last thing I do, you will not play the French Open without a new sponsor. So I went to Reebok who had just come out with a slogan, I am what I am. And I went to them and their biggest competitor was the sponsor that wasn't paying.
So Reebok said, well, we can't do this. It's going to take us years to build brand affiliation and so on. And I said, no, no, no, because what we're going to do is we're going to structure this financially in a win-win, and you're going to make the investment that you normally would make in Amelie by putting posters on every bus in Paris for the going back to school moment. And then you're going to share your revenues from that sales cycle with Amelie.
Moreover, if she wins one Grand Slam, she gets a major, major bonus. If she wins two, she gets this triple bonus. So Amelie won the first, the finals of the WTA, then the Australian Open, and then Wimbledon in 2006. And then she went into the Hall of Fame and she asked me to introduce her as the new Hall of Famer. So that was a full circle moment, and I love her very much. She is one heck of a champion. So that's mine.
Chris Evert: That's your story. I have one story, but I'm just going to, maybe one A will be when I went to South Africa when there was apartheid was happening, and Arthur Ashe went as well, and I went and we kind of went along. All of us as players wanted to support Arthur. So it was the South African Open. And to see him talking to Nelson Mandela and to see him giving clinics every day to the black children, it was enlightening to me.
The other one was when I went and played Fed Cup with Martina, we went back to Czechoslovakia after she had been, she was an American citizen, she had defected, and then she became an American citizen. She went over there. We didn't know what was going to happen, if they were going to even accept her. And to see the crowds crying and standing ovation every time she walked down the court. And they loved her because she did something that they wanted to do but couldn't do. And just the love and just the tears that she had for her home country. To me, that was to be a part of a team like that, that was very special.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, I'm getting goosebumps with you talking about it right now.
Chris Evert: It was transcendent sport again. And I will say in the beginning, during the matches, they put her on a back court and they put me on center court and she was number one in the world. They put her on a back court, but people were hanging onto the fences. They were climbing the fences to watch her. And the Czechoslovak and officials were, they were on the balcony. And I would always look at them in the beginning when everybody's standing ovation for her, not for the Czechoslovakian team, by the way, but for Martina. And I would look up and they would be just sitting in their seats like this. And after we played Czechoslovakia in the finals and USA beat Czechoslovakia, and at the trophy presentation, I looked up and the officials were up and standing ovation and they were clapping as well. So to me, I mean, that's world changing. It changes the world.
Alice Milligan: Yeah. All right. I have one last question, and I'll give it to one of you because we're getting right to the finish line here. We have a number of young women watching today. What is your advice to a young woman just starting out in her career as a tennis player or just in business?
Micky Lawler: Give it all you've got. Just work hard. There are no shortcuts, but find what you're passionate about and don't look at it as a job. Look at it as a lifestyle. Surround yourself with good people and just work hard, but it's not a sacrifice.
Alice Milligan: Great, great point.
Chris Evert: I thought you were going to talk to one person. I would add, I would say surround yourself with good professional people who know what they're talking about. Have good communication with them. Ask a lot of questions. And then the working hard. And just don't lose sight of your goal. Just focus laser vision and don't lose sight of your goal.
Alice Milligan: And I think you both captured it. Probably the only thing I'd add is be bold, because everything you talked about, it was really a first, or somebody just having the courage to be bold.
Chris Evert: Very fearless.
Alice Milligan: Yeah, be fearless. So, Chris and Micky, thank you so much for inspiring us, for your educational conversation, for being so open and honest and transparent. On behalf of Morgan Stanley, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our clients. Our goal today and every day is to provide you with the best service possible. And we're so grateful for the trust you place in us. We know you have a choice. And thank you for choosing Morgan Stanley. If you have any questions about today's event, please reach out to your Morgan Stanley or E-Trade contacts. Thank you to everyone for joining us. We truly appreciate your time and hope you got a lot from the session.
Micky Lawler: Thank you.
Chris Evert: Thank you.
When I won the US Open, he was like, this is the American dream. Like I came to America and my granddaughter won the US Open. Even getting the check, he was like wow that's a lot of money we need to save that and I was like yes grandpa we’re going to save it.
I first started playing tennis when I was nine and I lived across the street from a club. When I first started taking lessons, I started taking lessons with the guy that was literally the most fun coach I've ever had in my whole life and I think for kids like the first experience is always the best experience one that keeps them coming back and that I think is kind of what still keeps me playing tennis today.
My grandma when he came to America, his goal, his dream was to be a doctor and I think seeing how hard he had to work to provide the life for like my mom and my aunts and uncles like he was always very committed to that and I think seeing the hard work that he put in he worked until he was 70 and he delivered 40,000 babies. I want to love my work as much as he loved his work right and I think that inspires you to do more and do better and like it was amazing,
From the time I was 10 years old playing my first tournament, my grandparents my mom my brother like when I was 10 we drove to San Francisco and like three weekends in a row we went to go play tournament, my grandparents were always a part of that and I think being able to be a part of like my life journey not only with my tennis journey was really important for me just because I had that sense of grounding and I always knew that they were there and like even if I won or lost, it literally, they didn't care. Like, you know, they were always just supportive, and I was the only person in my family who had a professional career who didn't have a college degree.
Education has always been number one before sports and getting my degree and then my master’s degree was really important to me right and then to be able to show my grandparents like okay, I got my master’s degree, it was like yeah everyone's happy, like it was a great thing.
Even if I stopped playing tennis at 25 or 30 whatever it is like I always knew where I wanted to be and where I wanted to go and I think that's just my grandparents instilled that in my mom and my mom was like okay like this is what I did this is what you need to do.
I know at some point tennis will be over, right and then I have like 60 more years to live maybe hopefully 70 more years to live knowing that I was like I need to be set for this time I need to saw. I'm very meticulous and knowing and seeing like okay in 10 years I'll have this amount of money I can only spend this amount of money in the year so if you have five kids Sloane like they're going to cost this amount each and then you need to have that money and you're going to need to be able to support them.
I've always been someone who loves to give back I love kids and I think that they’re like God’s greatest gift, like I really do believe that kids are like the foundation like of our world and I think they you can change a kid’s life by just being present and being there and I think tennis has been my vehicle and has given me so much in life and why not let someone else experience that.
So, Sloane Stephen’s Foundation is based in Compton, California. We service all of Compton unified school districts. We service about 10,000 kids a year; kids would normally never play tennis or ever pick a racket because it’s not cool and it’s kind of expensive. So, all of those kids played middle school tennis, recess tennis, after school tennis and Saturday tennis. So, all of our program is completely free, even if it's like that's 25 minute thing they're getting to experience tennis in some way shape or form during the school year. Making sure that they're actually going to school and completing their work and excited about going to tennis after that for myself and my mom and everyone of the foundation that's a success story to us right being able to get them to a place where they enjoy competing and they're actually in the tournaments making it and making it to state championship and then graduating and then going to college, like that for us, is like is huge.
Education to me is very important. I mean, it’s the key. I mean, at the end of the day we’re professional tennis players, but it’s not enough. And it’s something that I really like struggled in the past. Like I want to be more than a tennis player, I want to know more, I want to do more.
I started playing tennis when I was seven years old. I felt it was quite easy for me, you know? So then I realized that, well, I think I’m good at this. So since then, I haven’t even, I didn’t even try the other sports. I just like went straight to tennis and it was like love at first sight. I have always been very aware, I know how tough it is to be a professional tennis player and how expensive it is, you know, and it’s not for everyone.
And I come from a very humble family. I’ve always have been very independent, so I never wanted them to help me. So, when I was 15 already, I started like to deal with my own financial part and start to learn from it as well. Of course, I was struggling with expenses and everything, but I was doing it by my own. Because I didn’t want them to carry that weight on their shoulders. That first year until I broke into the top hundred, I was stressed and worried about it because I was doing it by myself.
My younger sister, she’s 15 years old. Her name is Jana. We have a ten-year difference, so I always felt that of course I’m her older sister, but as I say, at the same time, I always felt like I had to like be her like second mom and I protect her so much. Especially the role I’m playing right now with her, it’s financially, I’m helping her. And her dream was always to come here to US to study, to learn English. Her maturity is like growing so fast thanks to that, so I’m very proud of her. She’s the most important person in my life. So, she knows that I would do anything for her, and I just want her to have an opportunity to do whatever she wants or her dream. I had my opportunity to make my dream come true, so I just want that for her.
Badosa’s sister (in Spanish): Hi, how are you? I’m here because I want to thank you for everything you do for me and always have done. For example, supporting me with the decision to go to the United States, which was one of my dreams. And I really appreciate how much you’ve done.
I wasn’t expecting this. Oh, that’s amazing.
One, two, three, four.
Instructor: Yeah. Hold it. And now. Exactly. Beautiful. Okay. Excellent. Excellent Job.
Elisabetta: Thank you! I love to listen to music and also when I travel I listen to music to imagine all the things that happened in my life. Playing tennis is the thing that I love most in my life. On March of last year I was 250th in the world and now I'm in my best ranking. I grew up with tennis.
Instructor: Yup! Exactly right? Exactly.
Elisabetta: Playing tennis is expensive but when I was 15 around 16 the Federation said to me that they would like me a lot. They paid me everything for the coach, for my travels for everything during the junior career and after. If I wouldn't go to the Federation I wouldn't be here today and for sure it helped me with everything, they helped me a lot so I'm really, really grateful and it gives me emotion because really it was a very good decision and very good journey.
Instructor: One, two, three, four. And keep going on that.
Elisabetta: For sure earning money is important and it's not easy to manage just by myself. I have people like my accountants that help me my parents my coach. They are sitting behind me so it’s important because if you don't good people around you or you manage bad, the things can be worse and this sport costs a lot, it's so expensive but if you play well you can earn a lot of money. But for sure it’s important to have good.. yeah good people around you that help you do the right things.
Instructor: Stop wherever you think is a good level. Nice. So now you can move on the clap.
Instructor: Excellent. Great Job!
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