By Harlen Leonard
Today (June 26th) will see the release of the much-anticipated documentary Battle of the Sexes.
King was the number one American world tennis champion and won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles, and 11 mixed doubles titles. She also founded the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Sports Foundation.
In 1973, Bobby Riggs challenged the leading women of the tennis world to beat him in a match. At the time, he was quoted as saying “I want to prove that women are lousy, [that] they stink [and] they don’t belong on the same court as a man.”
The 55-year-old first challenged Margaret Court, on the basis that no women could beat him even at his age, and he won on May 13, 1973. This caught Billie Jean’s attention.
Riggs said: “Billie Jean King is one of the all-time tennis greats. She’s one of the superstars, she’s ready for the big one, but she doesn’t stand a chance against me. Women’s tennis is so far beneath men’s tennis.”
On September 20, 1973, Riggs and King met each other at the Houston Astrodome, where Billie Jean went on to beat her competitor and instantly became a figurehead for the feminist movement. Over 1 million people watched the match on television and it is still considered to be the most-viewed match in tennis history.
This must-see film, produced by King, contains historical footage as well as interviews from Margaret Court, Chris Evert, and Venus and Serena Williams.
It is released in cinemas today. Let us know if you’re going to see it!
Watch the trailer below: