Billie Jean King - A champion on the court, a crusader for social justice and women’s equality in sports, and a visionary whose legacy is ever-evolving. Born on Nov 22, 1943, Billie Jean King is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player.
King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles (6 Wimbledon, 4 US Open, 1 Australian Open, 1 French Open titles), 16 in women’s doubles, & 11 in mixed doubles from 1959 through 1983.
In 1973, at age 29, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” an exhibition tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. Riggs had been a top men’s player in the 1930s & 1940s. Claiming that the women’s game was so inferior to the men’s game that even a 55-year-old like himself could beat the current top female players, he challenged Margaret Court & Billy Jean.
The Riggs-King match took place at the Houston Astrodome in Texas on Sep 20, 1973. In front of 30,492 spectators, a television audience estimated at 50 million people (U.S.), & 90 M in 37 countries, King beat the pompous Riggs 6–4, 6–3, 6–3.
The match is considered a very significant event in developing greater recognition & respect for women’s tennis.