06.07.1311:23 AM ET

Celebrating Women’s Independence in Tennis at French Open semis

It's been 40 years since women demanded equality in tennis—and now they're dominating the sport.

For some Americans, it seems like just yesterday that Billie Jean King and the dozen or more women rebelled against tournament organizers in 1973 to form their own international tour, initially financed by a tobacco company. In that era, women still received far less prize money than men did. Equality only began to emerge in recent years. At the same time, paychecks have grown enormously for the top players. Downstairs after her loss to Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka said “It’s an incredible thing, what happened 40 years ago to start something from scratch and to look where we are today, you know, with one of the biggest women’s sports in the world.”