Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When the Virginia Slims Legends Tour Stopped in Richmond, Va.

I was lucky enough to attend this 1995 Legends of Virginia Slims event in Richmond, Va. -- my brother Terence drove us from D.C. in his burgundy Honda Civic -- and I still say I'd rather watch Chris, Martina, Tracy, Evonne, Virginia et al. play now than today's crop of stars! (Billie Jean was recovering from an injury at this point, but provides hilarious commentary.) How lucky we are that a fellow fan recorded it and recently uploaded it to YouTube:

UPI's Lisa Harris wrote at the time: With a lineup of names that laid claim to 600 titles and 70 in Grand Slam doubles and singles, the tour has two added features: AIDS as a charity and music as a complement. [Philip Morris] made an initial contribution of $75,000 to the National AIDS Fund to celebrate the tour's launching.

Chris was 40 and fabulous ...

Martina was 38, newly retired a year after she made the final of Wimbledon for the last time ...

Tracy was five years younger than Serena Williams is now!

Billie Jean was really old -- my age :-)

What a great time we had! 

UPDATE: December 2022

Recently Billie Jean posted this photo on social media, asking if her followers could guess the year. Most -- including BJK -- assumed it was from 1995, the first official year of the Legends tour. But Tracy remembers being pregnant when it was taken. And I know Pam Shriver and Zina Garrison didn't participate the debut year. (Strangely, they didn't retire until 1997 but did participate the second and third years.) My research shows these photos are by Jonathan Exley, copyright 1998, which is my guess for when they were taken. Sadly, I can't verify this with Exley because the photographer of actors, musicians, politicians, sports figures and other celebrities who was perhaps best known for his images of pop star Michael Jackson, died of complications of liver failure Aug. 29, 2011, at his home in Los Angeles. He was just 63.

1998 tour program from The Woodlands, Texas

No comments: