Jack Jones, visionary who helped ladies’s tennis in its battle for equality, dies at 97


In trying on the notes left behind by Jack Jones, a visionary businessman whose love for tennis helped enhance the ladies’s recreation at a time it wanted good and efficient promotion, Jones’ son Cary was struck by the sense of equity that was the inspiration of his father’s work.

Jones, who died of pure causes on Sept. 2 at 97, teamed with John Moreno to stage the Household Circle Cup event, which debuted in 1973. It was the primary ladies’s tennis occasion to supply $100,000 in prize cash and the primary to be broadcast on community TV. The $30,000 winner’s prize was then thought-about unimaginable riches.

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Jack Jones, proper, stands with tennis legend Rosie Casals, left, and tennis broadcaster Bud Collins throughout the thirty fifth anniversary of the Household Circle Cup.

(Courtesy of the Jones household)

He introduced that very same sense of fairness to his tenure as an government at Mattel, the place he insisted that youngsters of shade seem within the firm’s nationwide TV ads, Cary stated.

Jones went on to have an extended profession in TV manufacturing, nevertheless it was in tennis, a sport he performed on a leisure foundation, that he left his largest mark.

“He felt that the profile of ladies’s sports activities, ladies’s tennis ought to be elevated, and a method to do this was giving them publicity on nationwide tv,” Cary stated. “And in addition he believed in equal pay for what ladies have been doing, in distinction to what males had been incomes at the moment.”

Jones, who lived in Los Angeles for greater than six a long time, died in Camarillo. He was survived by 4 youngsters, 5 grandchildren and the fond reminiscences of distinguished members of the tennis group. The Household Circle Cup, later renamed and moved from Hilton Head Island, S.C., to Charleston, S.C., celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April.

Billie Jean King, lengthy an advocate of fairness on and off the courtroom, recalled taking a flight to Savannah, Ga., with different gamers and being met by Jones and Moreno for the final leg of the journey to the inaugural event in Hilton Head. Whereas there, she stated gamers participated in clinics and different occasions to entertain sponsors and persuade them their funding had been worthwhile.

“This was so thrilling, again in 1973. The $30,000 was extraordinary on the time,” King stated in a telephone interview. “I beloved Jack. He was forward of his time, him and John Moreno.

“Jack actually beloved tennis. He beloved his household. Jack was an important good friend, and relationships are every thing. He beloved tennis however he thought exterior of the field. He was actually a particular human being. Type, good, forward of his time. He additionally was an important good friend via the years, and I believe that’s what’s vital.”

Peachy Kellmeyer, the primary director of the Virginia Slims ladies’s tour and later a senior government with the Ladies’s Tennis Assn., additionally paid tribute to Jones’ progressive pondering.

“Jack was a person of firsts in ladies’s tennis,” she stated, noting the Household Circle Cup’s groundbreaking TV look and prize cash. She stated Jones and Moreno made the event “a longtime favourite for gamers, followers, and TV audiences,” and added, “Our sport proudly calls Jack a person of firsts and a real good friend.”

Jones additionally promoted the now-gone U.S. ladies’s indoor championships. As well as, he created the Playtex Problem, which supplied a $1-million prize to a participant who may prevail on 4 totally different surfaces by successful the U.S. Indoor title, Household Circle Cup, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in a single yr. Martina Navratilova got here shut in 1982, successful the primary three of these 4 occasions and incomes $500,000.

“I don’t know if any comparable idea had been round,” Cary stated. “However that was one of many distinctive issues that he tried to do to assist promote the ladies’s tour as effectively.”

Jones was selling gamers’ beliefs, not simply their tournaments.

“He had nice admiration for them on numerous totally different ranges,” Cary stated. “My dad had this actual curiosity in folks. He actually preferred folks and he preferred attending to know the those that each have been taking part in on courtroom and likewise have been behind the scenes.”


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