50th anniversary of equal prize money: Michelle Obama praises Billie Jean King on record opening night at 2023 US Open

Wilson Blade 9

The 2023 US Open commenced its festivities to honor five decades of equal prize money with a distinguished tribute led by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles. This significant event not only paid homage to tennis legend and cultural figure Billie Jean King but also established new records for attendance, both during night sessions and across the entire day.

Michelle Obama and Billie Jean King hug during the opening night at the 2023 US Open
Michael Le Brecht II/USTA

Prior to Sara Bareilles’ moving performance of her popular song “Brave,” Michelle Obama took a moment to express her sincere dedication to Billie Jean King. Recognized as the driving force behind equal prize money at the US Open since 1973, Billie Jean King’s legacy was acknowledged by Michelle Obama’s words:

“Let us all summon a fraction of the courage and tenacity of women like Billie Jean King and continue to fight for a better, more just and more equitable future for all of our children. So I want to congratulate the men and women of the US Open for raising the bar, not just for tennis, but for the entire world.”

The zenith of celebration capped a day of excitement during the Opening Day and Night at the US Open, marked by the setting of several records for attendance.

On Monday, a staggering total of 72,957 attendees experienced the day and night sessions combined, marking an unprecedented record in the history of the US Open. Furthermore, the night session on the same day witnessed an exceptional attendance of 30,429, achieving a remarkable US Open record for a single night session.

As the 2023 US Open progresses, this historic tribute and the notable attendance achievements underscore the enduring influence of visionaries like Billie Jean King. They also reflect the ongoing commitment to equality and excellence in the realm of tennis and beyond.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here