When 2020 Roland-Garros champ Iga Swiatek says of tennis, "It's my life, basically it's everything right now," you believe her. It will only get more involved from here for the 19-year-old, and for her peers on the WTA Tour. That's for good reason.
The WTA has taken the opportunity early on in this off-season to rebrand and launch a new website. A new logo and "WTA For The Game" campaign, rolled out on Wednesday, will take the tour and its hundreds of competitive, passionate pros into 2021 with aplomb while retaining its purple motif.
While returning to a logo that includes the profile visage of a player making her way through a service motion, the WTA didn't fully forego its color scheme, nor the design it adopted in 2011—a tennis ball will continue to serve as the "crossbar" on the "A" in "W-T-A."
The logo brings with it a return to a certain kinetic energy, soon to be integrated across all WTA channels and materials. If you squint, you might say it even marks a midpoint between the countenances of Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, though it's not modeled after a particular star.
The fresh-faced "For The Game" campaign features a slew of videos with in-their-own-words storytelling from the likes of Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Ashleigh Barty, Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Su-Wei Hsieh, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and more captivating players from the tour's singles and doubles ranks.
The purple-lit action poses some stars find themselves in "For The Game" complement their vocation. They depict both a sense of pensiveness while flatteringly conveying the indefatigable professionalism that WTA pros, in so-called standard years, put on display for a solid 10 to 11 months of each season. In short, there's just a vibe about these pictures and their companion video clips.
They've all got grit and game in spades, as well as aspirations away from the pro sports realm.
"I've always wanted to be independent and successful and own my thing," says Muguruza, a veteran of slaying both magazine covers and major finals. (She's beaten both Williams sisters in them.)
A few comically veiled yet serious statements show up, such as when Barbora Strycova offers, "I show emotions everywhere, on court, off court. Some people have to deal with it, like my coaches."
"It's a journey—I'm on it," Mattek-Sands says, even with a laugh that thinly veils her inner fire to play hard and win big.
Both of them know the highs and lows of match outcomes and major-title runs, as well as injury woes that have sat them out of the sport at times. If they chuckle at the sum of it all, that's because of hard-won wisdom, literal blood and sweat and tears.
To Keys' credit, she speaks candidly to being intense and serious on-court, then turning to friendship and a good-natured, laidback spirit when away from the lines of play. "Tennis is my outlet," she says. Outside of the sport, "I really just like to hang out with my friends and family, and I'm kind of a little bit lazy." (Hey, this was shot in 2020, there was significant downtime to relish such chances.)
As announced days earlier, the WTA is also changing up how it names and frames its tournaments, with the numerical values assigned each event now making more sense to the casual tennis or general-sports follower. The previously named Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments will merge into WTA 1000-level events, with Premier moving to WTA 500s and so on.
Ranking points and prize money remain on level at each tour stop, though this clarity allows at least two winsome things for observers of all kinds, especially mainstream consumers of sports: It aligns with the ATP Tour's numerical system, and it makes players' commitments significantly more obvious. (And somewhere the always-competing Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic each smile.)
"Our new logo embraces the visual language of tennis and celebrates heroic women who come together 'for the game," says Micky Lawler, WTA president and marketing initiatives chief. "We will wear it as a badge of pride and a reminder of the power of unity among strong individuals—by joining forces, we build something bigger than ourselves."
For some time, the WTA has done a banner job of saluting its origin story, namely the "Original 9" group of players who started the tour in 1973 under the guise of $1 contracts. (That monetary number remains no misprint.) That will continue, ahead of the tour's 50th anniversary, impending in just a couple years.
After all, what Billie Jean King and eight other fearless players did then was in part to aid those who came after them. It was truly for the game—and yet, it superseded it.