Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King

American tennis player who won the Wimbledon tennis tournament 20 times in different categories
Date of Birth: 22.11.1943
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Billie Jean King
  2. Early Life and Tennis Career
  3. Professional Career and Activism
  4. Later Life and Legacy

Biography of Billie Jean King

Billie Jean Moffitt King was an American tennis player who achieved great success in her career. She was born on November 22nd in Long Beach. From a young age, Billie King was passionate about sports, particularly baseball. However, she later turned her attention to tennis, which proved to be a wise decision.

Billie Jean King

Early Life and Tennis Career

Billie Jean Moffitt showed great talent in various sports, especially baseball, during her youth. However, with her older brother Randy already excelling as a baseball player and going on to play in the major leagues, Billie Jean focused all her energy on tennis. She demonstrated her potential at Wimbledon in 1963 when she defeated Margaret Smith, one of the strongest tennis players of that time, with her powerful serves and volleys, which were uncommon in women's tennis at that time.

Billie Jean King

In 1966, King became the Wimbledon champion for the first time and went on to win this title 20 more times. Her victory at Wimbledon in 1963 served as an example for many feminists. She also revolutionized tennis fashion, disregarding the club's rules and wearing shorts instead of a traditional skirt.

Billie Jean King

Professional Career and Activism

In 1968, King began her professional tennis career. Soon after, a dispute erupted between Billie Jean and Jack Kramer, following the Pacific Southwest Region Championship in 1970. King was outraged by the prize money distribution arranged by Kramer, which allocated less than one-eighth of the amount given to men to the women. She threatened to boycott tournaments until equal distribution of earnings was agreed upon. When Kramer refused, Billie Jean and seven other professional female tennis players signed symbolic $1 contracts with Gladys Heldman, the publisher of World Tennis magazine in Houston. This marked the start of the independent women's professional tour, named after the new cigarette brand "Virginia Slims" by Philip Morris.

Billie Jean King is also known for her participation in the "Battle of the Sexes" match in 1973. She successfully defeated Bobby Riggs, who claimed that no woman could beat him. King proposed a $100,000 challenge to Riggs, with the condition that the entire sum would go to the winner. Riggs accepted, and King publicly stated, "I can't play for money only, I want to play for a cause." The match became a statement against Riggs' chauvinistic beliefs, as he claimed that women belonged at home in the kitchen. King received an equal share of the prize money, reflecting her belief that women provide the same quality of entertainment as men and should be paid equally.

Later Life and Legacy

In 1984, Billie Jean King retired from professional tennis and went on to work as a coach and sports commentator. Her impact on the sport extends beyond her athletic achievements, as she was a prominent advocate for gender equality and women's rights. King's legacy as a tennis pioneer and feminist icon continues to inspire generations of athletes and activists.