With the U.S. Open underway, the most important individuals in the tennis world are having their annual meeting in New York City. The best players, coaches, commentators, legends and influencers can all be found on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Wednesday was no different. Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Juan Martin del Potro were all in action. Roger Federer took a rare day off from Queens to practice at Central Park. American hopefuls John Isner and Sam Querrey moved on.

Right in the middle of all this, inside the ground's hospitality tent, the Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium, with the USTA, hosted a panel celebrating the 45th anniversary of Title IX. USTA President Katrina Adams moderated the discussion with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and tennis legend/human rights activist Billie Jean King.

"There's a difference between diversity and inclusion," Roberts said. "Diversity is about who's on the team. Inclusion is about who gets to play."

King respectfully countered with a different word.

"I don't use those two words," King said. "I like equality. And guess what? In the 70s, equality was in. Then it got into diversity and inclusion and all this stuff. It's about equality! If everybody lets go, it's about doing the right thing by everyone. And it's the we, not the me. Just put the 'w' there. It's so simple!"


During the panel, King gave special praise to millennials and Gen Z. At 73, King could be placed right at the start of the baby boomers.

"I wish I was their age," King said. "Now, they just talk to a person, they don't care where you're from, they don't care what religion, they just talk to 'em. I'm going, 'Hallelujah!' because this is what I wanted in my world as I was growing up.

"Keep talking to someone who doesn't look like you, who doesn't have the same language for them, who may not have the same religion. That's what we need to do."


Roberts, 56, gave perspective to how Title IX helped her get a scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University. Roberts actually got a scholarship to play tennis, but she switched to basketball, where she became a star for the Lady Lions. During the discussion, Roberts mentioned her past career as a WNBA commentator for ESPN and her struggle to get more highlights on SportsCenter.


The three women then watched some tennis. Venus Williams, a catalyst to getting women equal pay at Grand Slams, was one of the featured evening matches.

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