On September 20, 1973, in the Astrodome, Houston, Texas, 55-year-old Bobby Riggs and 29-year-old Billie Jean King played the tennis match known as the “Battle of the Sexes”.
Bobby Riggs had been a top tennis player in the 1940s, he was ranked No. 1 three times in 1939 as an amateur and in 1946 and 1947 as a professional. He won three Grand Slam titles during his career. After he retired in 1959 he remained a promoter of tennis. In 1973 he stated that female tennis was inferior and that he could, at his current age (55), still beat any of the top female players. Earlier that year Riggs had won from 30-year-old Margaret Court.
|Billie Jean King entering the court in Cleopatra style|
|Bobby Riggs entering the court in a rickshaw drawn by female models|
Then 29-year-old Billie Jean King had earned her fifth No. 1 female player ranking in 1972 and would finish second in 1973. She won in her career 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
|The match was viewed by an estimated 90 million people around the world.|
|Billie Jean King won in three sets (6-4, 6-3 and 6-3)|
Billie Jean King entered the court in Cleopatra style on a feather-adorned palanquin carried by four bare-chested muscle men. Bobby Riggs followed in a rickshaw drawn by female models. Riggs presented King with a giant Sugar Daddy lollipop, and she responded by giving him a squealing piglet, symbolic of male chauvinism. The match was viewed by an estimated 90 million people around the world. Billie Jean King's win in three sets (6-4, 6-3 and 6-3) is considered a milestone in public acceptance of women's tennis.