Tennis legend Billie Jean King played an iconic match in 1973, which marked a great moment in the history of sport and women’s tennis in particular. The “battle of the sexes” celebrated its 49th anniversary on Tuesday, and King remembered the groundbreaking moment on the occasion.
“Battle of the Sexes” is used to describe a match where a female player takes on a male player and was most commonly used for the match between Billie Jean King and the late Bobby Riggs on September 20, 1973. The match, played at the Houston Astrodome reportedly recorded 90 million viewers worldwide.
King won the match against his male counterpart in three sets. Her win is widely considered a landmark victory in the acceptance of women’s tennis, at a time when many female players were fighting for respect in the tennis world.
King recalled the same and said the match was much more about equality than tennis. On that note, she is optimistic about the 2023 season.
“The battle of the sexes was so much more than tennis. It was about equality and social change,” Billie Jean King wrote on Twitter. “49 years ago today, Bobby Riggs and I performed at the Astrodome in Houston to a global audience of 90 million. The world was watching. 2023 is going to be a big year.”
Tennis matches between male and female players also took place before the King-Riggs battle, but American superstar King became the first female player to win one of these matches.
Earlier that year, Riggs played against Margaret Court in Ramona, Calif., winning 6-2 6-1. In 1992, Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors competed in another “Battle of the Sexes” match in Las Vegas, which Connors won 7-5 6-2.
Billie Jean King has been considered a trailblazer in the fight for equality in tennis over the years.