Tennis: Q&A with Billie Jean King

Q Are you sad that people don't volley any more? A It's a lot harder to volley today because of the velocity and spin of the ball from the strings and the rackets so I understand why.

One thing they have done well is they've brought back the drop shot because players stand so far behind the baseline it works.

I think they could be going more to the net than they do. I don't think they are taught early. Q How do you look at an athlete's legacy? A I always want to know what they think beyond just hitting tennis balls or making baskets and if they don't have an opinion I appreciate them for their excellence because they obviously had a pursuit of excellence.

But if I don't know how they stand on issues or what they think or feel, I don't have the same feeling for them. I want them to think beyond themselves. Q Do you think something unfair happened at the US Open? A I've talked to Serena (Williams) and she agrees she was not appropriate, she knew that. The umpire had a very low emotional IQ and emotional IQ is really important if you're going to be an umpire to me. That means understanding human nature and understanding the person. But when you attack somebody's honesty, especially with Venus and Serena, who I've known since they were nine and 10 years old. She saw red, she couldn't see straight after that. That's what she felt he had done. Now I don't know if he did it or not I couldn't quite hear it right... But the point is both were wrong but it goes deep. They've done all kinds of data on black women and anger issues. People cannot stand to see women of colour get upset. So that's happening and what he needed to do because she kept saying, 'I want you to apologise'. All he had to do was say to her, 'I'm not attacking your honesty'. That's not apologising but he's saying what's in his mind. Just clarify it, 'I am not attacking.' That would've been so helpful. And the whole time this was happening, I am going, 'Please just tell her you're not attacking her honesty'. 'Please, please,' you know I'm thinking out loud.

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