Trisha Goyal, the founder of tech platform Break the Love who was previously heralded by Business Insider as one of sport’s youngest CEOs, plays tennis “like a girl.”
In just under four years after its birth in 2019, Break the Love has transcended its core service as an accessible, comprehensive online hub for connecting like-minded and similarly skilled tennis players, now standing as the catalyst motivating and empowering a new wave of women taking up the sport. Collaboration lies at the heart of Break The Love, from the platform’s promotional language to its progression to success, and it pushes back against the gatekeeping, elitism, and sexism that has potential players turning their backs on the court.
“Myself, being a female athlete and founder, know what it’s like to feel the pressure of being in an industry that is male dominated,” Goyal said. “Break The Love makes it easy for those just starting out in their athletic careers to build a community around them who are probably starting out as well!”
After having taken a hiatus from the tennis as a busy working adult, Goyal hoped to reignite her passion for the sport after a big move, but the difficulty of finding available courts and willing players posed a significant challenge. Born from that frustration, Break the Love simply aims to help people “get out and play tennis.” The platform’s mission specifically speaks to female athletes, according to Goyal, by empowering them through technology such as Break the Love’s New York City permit system, access to tennis education, and safety features particularly for women, girls, and minorities in public play spaces.
“I was motivated to create this space for everyday athletes because of the lack of accessibility there is when it comes to tennis play. Break The Love allows you to connect with other players at your skill level and find local courts to play. What drives me and the space I have created is knowing that the sport I am so passionate about can easily be someone else's newest passion by how easy and accessible it is,” Goyal said.
And yet, Break the Love’s seemingly unending accolades—including, but not limited to, being the recently announced official tennis partner of luxury fitness company Equinox—are not the only reasons Goyal has been celebrating this summer. This past June also marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passage into law, which has since profoundly transformed women’s athletics by guaranteeing women “the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions,” according to the Women’s Sport Foundation. Additionally, tennis was the first sport to adopt the practice of actively extending equal rights to women in sports.
In honor of the anniversary, Goyal along with the rest of Break the Love collaborated with Wilson and the Michelle Obama Tennis Center to host not only girls’ and women’s tennis rallies but a conversation of Gender Equity to Sport & Education with pro players—just three events of an inclusive series of female-centric programming around the country.
“The Title IX programming was so exciting to prepare for, [and] Break The Love has gotten to work with some incredible partners to bring these events to life,” Goyal said. “Wilson Sporting Goods being our partner for our panel event in Chicago was such a highlight, seeing as though we got to host it at their first ever store. I was honored to have worked with a company like Wilson whose messaging aligns with what Break The Love is all about, the love of the game.”
Panelists included professional MMA Fighter Bi Nguyen, professional tennis player and tennis channel commentator Taylor Townsend, two-time doubles Grand Slam champion and USTA Board of Directors member Vania King, and education empowerment activist and author Vee Kativhu.
“I am thrilled to be working with incredible people and companies who are just as excited about what Break The Love is,” Goyal said. “I am inspired by the women who so graciously spoke at our panel in Chicago about their journeys and what it took for them to excel in their industries—Townsend, King, Nguyen, and Kativhu— who moderated the panel.”
And yet, the work isn’t over for Goyal, with Break the Love already preparing for their next Chicago-based event on July 27, a women’s tennis rally at the Michelle Obama Tennis Center at the Whitney Young Magnet High School. The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a girls’ rally the following day on July 28.
When asked what it means to “play like a girl,” Goyal answered with grace: to play like a girl is to play.
“Women are strong and tough players when it comes to the game, and since the sport industry is so male-dominated, it’s important to know that this stereotype is becoming outdated,” Goyal said. “Our goal is to showcase ‘everyday athletes,’ which is everybody, everywhere!”