On the 50th anniversary of her win over Bobby Riggs in the famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’, Billie Jean King referred to the event as one of the most important days of her life.
On September 20, 1973, the 29-year-old King defeated a retired Riggs, six-time Major winner and 26 years elder to her, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in a match which had a winner-takes-all prize of $100,000 at the Houston Astrodome in Texas.
The tie had taken place after some highly misogynistic and sexist remarks from Riggs. He said, “I love women -- in the bedroom and in the kitchen, in that order. The best way to handle women is to keep them pregnant and barefoot. … She’s a women’s libber, and I’m playing to prove the man is king. … These women say they want to earn the same as us, and that’s ridiculous.”
King was already one of the strongest personalities in the sport even before the match against Riggs. Earlier, in the same year, she and eight other players had led the foundation of the Women’s Tennis Association just four days before Wimbledon. Her efforts also resulted in US Open becoming the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to men and women.
“The Battle of the Sexes was played 50 years ago today. More than a tennis match, it was a catalyst for social change & one of the most important days of my life. We have come a long way since 1973, but we are not done yet. Let’s keep going for it,” wrote King in a post on X, remembering her epic battle against Riggs.
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