Washington, D.C., August 21, 2023 – The Professional Tennis Players Association (“PTPA”), global advocates for professional tennis players, proudly announces the addition of three esteemed tennis figures to its team. Joining the PTPA’s newly-formed Board of Champions are former world top-ranked singles and doubles champion, Kim Clijsters of Belgium, and former top-ranked doubles champion, Sania Mirza of India. In addition, four-time men’s singles champion Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus joins the PTPA as an ambassador.
The Board of Champions, composed of trailblazing players who have left an indelible mark on the sport’s evolution, assumes a crucial role as trusted advisors to the PTPA. Leveraging their expertise and experiences, these esteemed members will help guide the PTPA’s strategic initiatives, foster valuable relationships with stakeholders, and unite women’s and men’s players on a global scale. The PTPA will expand the Board of Champions to include up to six members by 2024.
“I am excited to join the Board of Champions and collaborate with the PTPA to pioneer positive change,” said Clijsters. “Like many other former players, I look forward to representing a strong players association on tour and helping to reshape the future of our sport. It is imperative that the women and men of tennis have a seat at the table. I am eager to help organize players and be a part of this ambitious and worthwhile mission.”
Added Mirza: “Throughout my career, I have remained passionate about and committed to growing and improving the sport of tennis for generations to come. I am honored to continue this mission with the PTPA as it advocates for players at scale. The need for independent, collective player representation has never been greater, and I look forward to helping the PTPA organize players and establish collective power with stakeholders.”
As an ambassador, Baghdatis will help the PTPA enhance player engagement through education, player servicing, and liaising with stakeholders. Baghdatis will play an essential role in ensuring the organization effectively represents and empowers professional tennis players worldwide.
“Players need a voice. I experienced that firsthand while competing on tour, and continue to see that need with today’s generation,” said Baghdatis. “I’m excited to join forces with the PTPA to contribute to its mission of giving players that voice and the ability to drive meaningful improvements for the good of the sport and all involved.”
Added Ahmad Nassar, PTPA Executive Director: “Kim, Sania and Marcos are all pioneering figures in professional tennis, and they bring unmatched expertise to the PTPA. Their understanding of the player experience and the intricacies of the tennis world makes them invaluable to our team. We are confident that their influence and passion will drive positive change, propelling the game to even greater heights.”
Clijsters, a six-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 in both women’s singles and women’s doubles, boasts a career full of firsts and record-breaking moments. She led Belgium to its inaugural Fed Cup title in 2001, became the first Belgian player to secure the world No. 1 ranking in 2003, and made history as the first mother to achieve the world No. 1 ranking after winning the Australian Open in 2011. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017.
Mirza, the first Indian woman to win a WTA title in 2005, holds a remarkable legacy. She reached No. 1 in doubles and clinched six Grand Slam victories, inspiring players worldwide. A tennis pioneer in India, Mirza established the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy in 2013, with locations in India and Dubai. Recognized on Time’s “50 Heroes of Asia” in 2005 and “100 most influential people in the world” in 2016, Mirza retired in February 2023.
Baghdatis, beginning his professional journey in 2003, hit a career-high No. 8 ranking in 2006 following Australian Open finals and Wimbledon semifinals achievements. The Cyprus native captured four singles titles at the China Open, Zagreb Indoors, Stockholm Open and Sydney International and represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games. Baghdatis retired in 2019.
About the Professional Tennis Players Association:
The PTPA is uniting and mobilizing tennis players from around the globe to create transparency and fairness throughout decision-making in professional tennis. In August 2022, the PTPA launched Winners Alliance, a for-profit affiliate, to generate and maximize off-the-court commercial opportunities for players and their agents, emulating the successful model of players associations in other sports. Collectively, through the PTPA, professional tennis players are building an equitable and sustainable competitive environment for players today and for generations to come.
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