When the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) was founded, it had a groundbreaking goal: to eliminate barriers and promote equity in the sport. Fifty years later, the WTA has made remarkable strides, both in increasing access for more diverse players and in achieving equality for women playing tennis. This includes the recent approval of a pathway to equal prize money by 2027 at the WTA’s biggest tournaments.
Progress like that takes determination and vision—the same values that Morgan Stanley embodies. It’s also what drives our recent partnership with the WTA. Together, we are helping provide opportunities for a new generation through empowerment programs for players, coaches and communities.
A Commitment to Providing Opportunities for All
One way we do this is by supporting the WTA Foundation’s Come Play initiative, which hosts events and tennis clinics around the world in support of youth in underrepresented communities. The initiative provides instruction and access to girls of all ages and abilities, encouraging them to lead healthy and productive lives both on and off the court.
A recent Come Play event took place in Charleston, SC, where Morgan Stanley brand ambassador and two-time WTA champion Leylah Fernandez offered high-quality tennis instruction to more than 60 girls who may not have otherwise been exposed to the sport. The two-day event included a day dedicated to the city’s Special Olympics Rockin’ Racquets chapter in support of their global inclusion movement. Says Fernandez, “I look forward to continuing to partner with the Morgan Stanley team in expanding access to the game of tennis, especially among underrepresented communities and diverse youth.”
A Come Play event in London drew 50 girls, some of whom later toured the Morgan Stanley office to gain insights about careers in finance. And in New York City, a Come Play event in advance of the 2023 US Open supported the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education program and the City Parks Foundation, with free instruction for 100 girls under the guidance of select WTA players and coaches.
“Ensuring that there’s representation, that there’s opportunity, that there’s access is really important,” says Alice Milligan, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We want to help young people tap into a future they didn’t know they could have.”
In addition to helping young players, the partnership also supports coaches through the WTA’s Coach Inclusion Program, which was launched by the WTA in 2022 and is designed to attract, develop and retain female coaches and to mentor them throughout their careers. Milligan and legendary former player and current WTA coach Pam Shriver facilitated a leadership mentoring session to help participants in the program grow their careers. “We hope this program can bring more qualified, great coaches into the game, who as females understand what women can bring to the table,” said Shriver. “There’s no reason why women who want to have this as a profession shouldn’t have a pathway to coach at the highest, elite level.”
Helping Players Succeed Off the Court
Morgan Stanley and the WTA are also working to ensure that players have the tools they need for financial success. Together, we are rolling out the What Moves You program to help players maximize their potential today while planning for the future. The program is built around three areas:
Advice: Dedicated Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment Financial Advisors focus on elite athletes and take the time to understand tennis players’ unique needs and challenges.
Financial Education: Customized articles, podcasts and videos provide answers to players’ most pressing questions in areas such as saving and budgeting, investing, managing taxes and building a personal brand.
Leadership: A broad network of Morgan Stanley experts in areas such as philanthropy and entrepreneurship helps support and guide players in their careers beyond tennis.
Notes Fernandez, “We’re focused on tennis our whole lives. That’s the only thing we know. But it's not something we can always depend on.” Indeed, with professional women tennis players ever closer to achieving pay equity, having the financial confidence to pursue their ambitions is critical—and a key way that Morgan Stanley is promoting empowerment for women through our partnership with the WTA.