LONDON (AP) — Billie Jean King believes Wimbledon finalists Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard are creating one of the most exciting times in women's tennis in decades.
King ought to know. She helped start the Women's Tennis Association more than 40 years ago.
The 24-year-old Kvitova of the Czech Republic won the 2011 Wimbledon title. She'll face the 20-year-old Bouchard, who will play in her — and Canada's — first Grand Slam final on Saturday.
They're from a generation of fitter and stronger players who have "closed the gap on power and belief" with their older contemporaries, King said at a news conference during Wimbledon.
"They have definitely caught up," King said. "Women have more confidence overall, Serena (Williams) is not in the same place as she was, she's a little more vulnerable.
"The men have had their 'Top 4.' Now we've got a lot of younger women who want to be here. They like the show time."
Here are five things to know about the big show Saturday on Centre Court:
WHAT A YEAR: Bouchard was the only woman to have advanced to all three Grand Slam tournament semifinals this year, and now she's taken it another step. She's received support from her home country, prime ministers and mayors, along with "The Big Bang Theory" actor Jim Parsons. She finished 2013 ranked 32nd, and she's projected to improve to No. 7 — the highest ranking for a Canadian woman — by reaching the final. She would be the youngest Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova won the 2006 U.S. Open at 19.