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

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Trailblazing Women’s tennis star Billie Jean King He defeated former men’s champion “miserable” Bobby Riggs, in a highly publicized match, called “The Battle of the Sexes,” on this day in history, September 20, 1973.

The made-for-television sports show proved a watershed moment in the fight for women’s equality in athletics.

King won the tennis match in straight sets (6-4, 6-3, 6-3) in front of more than 30,000 spectators in stellar houston And millions more across the country and the world on television.

“Not a single day has gone by that no one has asked me about that match,” King told Fox News Digital in an email commentary this week.

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The King’s website notes that “50 million people in the United States and an estimated 90 million people around the world watched the match”.

It was “one of the most watched sports events on TV of all time” and “not many have seen a tennis match before or since.”

Prior to ABC’s prime-time broadcast, both athletes pulled it off in front of the cameras.

On September 20, 1973, tennis star Billie Jean King was taken to the court by four men for a

On September 20, 1973, tennis star Billie Jean King was taken onto the court by four men to participate in the “Battle of the Sexes,” a dedicated television scene with 55-year-old tennis star Bobby Riggs.
(Getty Images)

History.com wrote: “King entered Cleopatra-style entrance on golden droppings carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a wheelbarrow pulled by mannequins.”

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Famous sports broadcaster Howard Kozel called the match, adding an air of luxury to the festivities.

King, 29 at the time, was in the midst of a dominant race. The California native won the French Open, the US Open, and Wimbledon in 1972.

She defended her title at Wimbledon just two months before the “Battle of the Sexes”, while winning eight other Grand Slam tournaments in her career.

In the

At “Battle of the Sexes,” Billie Jean King triumphed and was surrounded by fans and the media after she defeated Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome, in Houston, Texas, on September 20, 1973.
(Photo by Tony Triolo/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Riggs, aged 55 during the match, was the world’s top tennis player in 1946 and 1947.

He made a huge splash in the international spotlight, winning Wimbledon as a 21-year-old amateur in 1939.

Riggs, who died in 1995, was also an outspoken chauvinist and self-proclaimed underestimation of female athletes. The King gave a giant lollipop before the match with “Sugar Daddy” written on it.

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His coarse reputation has made Foz King taste sweeter to supporters around the world.

In addition to her lifelong acclaim, she earned $100,000 in payday in the Winner Takes All contest.

Tennis player Bobby Riggs holds a

Tennis player Bobby Riggs holds a “Sugar Daddy” sign while being carried onto the court by young women. He was about to play a tennis match against Billie Jean King called “Battle of the Sexes” on September 20, 1973 at the Houston Astrodome.
(Getty Images)

“This event was like no other before,” longtime Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer said at the magazine’s last July show of the event.

“No one has ever held a tennis match in a court like this. It was a Hollywood production.”

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Despite the spirit of public appearances, the matchers worked to legitimize the skill of the competitions.

It was played just one year after the Education Amendments of 1972, best known for the ninth title, which opened up female athletic opportunities in college.

King often said, “It was about social change, more than just 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 player Billie Jean King speaks to the media on Day 14 at Roland Garros on June 4, 2022 in Paris, France.
(Photo by Robert Prang/Getty Images)

She saw it as a victory for mathematics everywhere.

She said, as her website notes, “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win this match. It would ruin the ladies.” [tennis] Round and affect the self-esteem of all women. Beating a 55-year-old guy wasn’t that exciting to me. The excitement was exposing a lot of new people to tennis.”

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

In 1971 King received more than $100,000 in prize money and is believed to be the first female athlete to reach the milestone.

“Nevertheless, significant pay disparities remain between male and female athletes, and King lobbied aggressively for change,” History.com wrote.

In 1973, the US Open became the first major tennis tournament to award the same amount of prize money to winners of either gender.


The King to this day remains a pioneer for many people around the world. As she wrote in her autobiography, “All In,” published last year, she told her mother when she was a little girl, “Mom, I’m going to do something amazing with my life—I just know it! You watch.”

This included being a no. 1 tennis player in the world.

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