Melbourne, Australia, 24 December 2022 |

Members of the Original Nine, including trailblazing Aussies Judy Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid, will be special guests at the Australian Open this summer and headline the AO Inspirational Series on Thursday 26 January 2023.

Dalton is a nine-time Grand Slam doubles champion, while Reid won four major titles, including the Australian Open 1977 singles crown.

They became part of tennis history in 1970, when alongside seven other courageous women, they made a stand for equal rights and broke away from the governing bodies of the time. Signing a symbolic $1 contract, they formed their own professional tour which led to increased prize money for women’s tennis and the eventual formation of what we now know as the WTA Tour. The Original Nine, as they are known, transformed women’s tennis and made a huge impact on women’s sport around the world.

Dalton and Melville Reid will be joined by the legendary Billie Jean King, along with Americans Rosie Casals, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon and Valerie Bradshaw in what is sure to be an emotional Original Nine reunion. Julie Heldmen and Nancy Richey are unable to make the long trip to Australia but send their best wishes.

“We haven’t seen each other for such a long time, it’s going to be incredible to catch up with everyone, especially as it is at the Australian Open,” Dalton said.

“We didn’t realise at the time just what the impact what we did back in 1970 would have on women’s sport. Not only prize money, but recognition as women athletes. We all look back with pride about the positive impact we have had on sport overall.”

King, a 39-time Grand Slam champion, is also looking forward to their reunion at Melbourne Park.

“I am so excited the Original Nine is reuniting in Melbourne and it will be especially fitting to celebrate Judy (Dalton) and Kerry (Melville Reid) in their homelands,” King said.

“Australia has always been a very important part of my career and the months I spent training with the Aussies in 1964 helped me become the number one player in the world.

“The place is special and there is a reason they call the AO the Happy Slam, because we always have a great time in Melbourne.

“The Original Nine signified the birth of women’s professional tennis as we know it today. Every time a woman receives a cheque for any tennis tournament anywhere in the world, she can thank the Original Nine.”

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2023 tickets

The AO Inspirational Series is the brainchild of Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley and designed to celebrate the inspirational achievements of women in all fields of endeavour.

January 2023 marks the eighth edition of this prestigious annual event, which has featured a compelling line up of speakers. This includes Vogue editor Anna Wintour, comedian, actor, writer, producer and lawyer Rebel Wilson, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and best-selling Australian author Liane Moriarty, alongside Grand Slam champions Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki to name just a few.

Hosted by Nine’s Tara Brown, the AO Inspirational Series is supported by Global Victoria and will take place prior to the women’s semifinals on Thursday January 26.

Book online, play today: Visit to get out on court and have some fun!