On this day in history, September 20, 1973, tennis star Billie Jean King wins the “Battle of the Sexes”

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Main tennis star Billie Jean King defeated former males’s champion “Bobby Riggs”, in a extremely publicized match, the so-called “Battle of the Sexes”, on at the present time in historical past, September 20, 1973.

The made-for-television sports activities present proved a watershed second within the struggle for girls’s equality in athletics.

King received the tennis match in straight units (6-4, 6-3, 6-3) in entrance of greater than 30,000 spectators within the Houston Astrodome and hundreds of thousands extra throughout the nation and the world on tv.

“Not a single day has passed by that nobody has requested me about that match,” King instructed Fox Information Digital in an electronic mail commentary this week.

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The King’s web site notes that “50 million folks in america and an estimated 90 million folks all over the world watched the match”.

It was “one of the crucial watched sports activities occasions on TV of all time” and “not many have seen a tennis match earlier than or since.”

Previous to ABC’s prime-time broadcast, each athletes pulled it off in entrance of the cameras.

On September 20, 1973, tennis star Billie Jean King was taken onto the court docket by 4 males to take part within the “Battle of the Sexes,” a devoted tv scene with 55-year-old tennis star Bobby Riggs.
(Getty Photos)

Historical past.com wrote: “King entered Cleopatra-style entrance on golden droppings carried by males dressed as historical slaves, whereas Riggs arrived in a wheelbarrow pulled by mannequins.”

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Well-known sports activities broadcaster Howard Kozel known as the match, including an air of luxurious to the festivities.

King, 29 on the time, was within the midst of a dominant race. The Californian received the French Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon in 1972.

She defended her title at Wimbledon simply two months earlier than the “Battle of the Sexes”, whereas successful eight different Grand Slam tournaments in her profession.

At “Battle of the Sexes,” Billie Jean King triumphed and was surrounded by followers and the media after she defeated Bobby Riggs on the Astrodome, in Houston, Texas, on September 20, 1973.
(Picture by Tony Triolo/Sports activities Illustrated by way of Getty Photos)

Riggs, aged 55 through the match, was the world’s high tennis participant in 1946 and 1947.

He made an enormous splash within the worldwide highlight, successful Wimbledon as a 21-year-old newbie in 1939.

Riggs, who died in 1995, was additionally an outspoken chauvinist and self-proclaimed underestimation of feminine athletes. The King gave an enormous lollipop earlier than the match with “Sugar Daddy” written on it.

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His coarse popularity has made Foz King style sweeter to supporters all over the world.

Along with her lifelong acclaim, she earned $100,000 in payday within the Winner Takes All contest.

Tennis participant Bobby Riggs holds a “Sugar Daddy” signal whereas being carried onto the court docket by younger ladies. He was about to play a tennis match towards Billie Jean King known as “Battle of the Sexes” on September 20, 1973 on the Houston Astrodome.
(Getty Photos)

“This occasion was like no different earlier than,” longtime Sports activities Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer stated on the journal’s final July exhibition of the occasion.

“Nobody has ever held a tennis match in a court docket like this. It was a Hollywood manufacturing.”

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Regardless of the spirit of public appearances, the matchers labored to legitimize the talent of the competitions.

Performed only one yr after the 1972 Schooling Amendments have been handed, it’s best recognized for its ninth title, which opened up feminine athletic alternatives in faculty.

King typically stated, “It was about social change, extra than simply tennis.”

Former US tennis player Billie Jean King speaks to the media on Day 14 at Roland Garros on June 4, 2022 in Paris, France.

Former US tennis participant Billie Jean King speaks to the media on Day 14 at Roland Garros on June 4, 2022 in Paris, France.
(Picture by Robert Prang/Getty Photos)

She noticed it as a victory for arithmetic in every single place.

She stated, as her web site notes, “I believed it could set us again 50 years if I did not win this match. It will damage the women.” [tennis] Spherical and have an effect on the conceit of all ladies. Beating a 55-year-old man wasn’t that thrilling to me. The joy was exposing quite a lot of new folks to tennis.”

“It was about social change, rather more than tennis.”

In 1971 King acquired greater than $100,000 in prize cash and is believed to be the primary feminine athlete to succeed in the milestone.

“However, important pay disparities stay between female and male athletes, and King lobbied aggressively for change,” Historical past.com wrote.

In 1973, the US Open turned the primary main tennis event to award the identical quantity of prize cash to winners of both gender.


The King to at the present time stays a pioneer for many individuals all over the world. As she wrote in her autobiography, “All In,” revealed final yr, she instructed her mom when she was a little bit woman, “Mother, I’ll do one thing superb with my life—I simply realize it! You watch.”

This included being a no. 1 tennis participant on this planet.