“Much more than tennis, it was a question of equality and social change”

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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.”

The battle of the sexes was about much more than tennis. It was about equality and social change. 49 years ago today, Bobby Riggs and I performed in the Houston Astrodome to a worldwide audience of 90 million. The world was watching. 2023 will be a great year. 📷: Bill Schoen https://t.co/mHrv7NvbdC

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 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.

On this date of September 20, 1973, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Astrodome in Houston. Photography: Bettman/Corbis. #OTD https://t.co/itfBkTE3F0

“I’ve had so many opportunities because of you” – Ice hockey legend Jayna Hefford to Billie Jean King

US Open 2022 - Day 1
US Open 2022 – Day 1

Five-time Olympic medalist and ice hockey legend Jayna Hefford has praised Billie Jean King for her efforts to promote women’s tennis and her fight for equality in sport. In response to King’s tweet about the battle of the sexes, Hefford thanked King and admitted that she had had many opportunities in her sport thanks to King’s efforts.

“This moment has changed so much, for so many people! Thank you Billie Jean King – as a female athlete I have had so many opportunities because of you,” Hefford wrote in a tweet.

This moment has changed so much, for so many people! Thanks @BillieJeanKing – as a female athlete, I had so many opportunities because of you. #thelegacycontinues twitter.com/billiejeanking…

The match between King and Riggs was also made into a feature film in 2017 called “Battle of the Sexes” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the lead roles.

King last appeared at the 2022 US Open, where she gave a special tribute speech to Serena Williams, who retired from tennis. King, who is the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), often appears at most major WTA events, especially those held in the United States.


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