Social Change In Sports: Blake & Navratilova Join Tennis United

MaliVai Washington discusses his foundation, Gustavo Kuerten & Mary Pierce reflect on their Roland Garros success

”Sports have always been a very powerful tool for social change.”

The tenth episode of Tennis United features a powerful discussion between James Blake and Martina Navratilova about equality in tennis.

“Younger people are starting to lead the way… about having inclusivity and being together and Tennis United is a great platform for that. With so many young players on Tour, they are the ones who are so much more open-minded and you’re not dealing with the status quo,” Blake said. “So many barriers got shattered and I feel like at times it was cracks, cracks, cracks and then shattered by people like Martina, by people like Serena and Venus, by Arthur Ashe, by Althea Gibson.”

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Former WTA World No. 1 Navratilova has long championed equal rights, and she is happy with progress that has been made in the sport in recent years.

"It’s just gradually come to where gay people come out, and less and less attention is being paid to that. This is what the whole idea was,” Navratilova said. “I was marching so that one day we don’t have to march at all. We’re still marching, but it’s so nice to have those steps forward where people don’t care.”

Also in this episode, 1996 Wimbledon finalist MaliVai Washington chats about the work his MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation does in Florida. The foundation utilises tennis, daily homework help and a life skills curriculum to engage local youth.

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Gustavo Kuerten and Mary Pierce also join the show to share memories of their love affair with Roland Garros. Kuerten lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires on three occasions, while Pierce emerged victorious in 2000.