September 20, 1973: Billie Jean King Routs Bobby Riggs In The “Battle Of The Sexes”
The “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match that took place between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs on September 20, 1973 was not your ordinary tennis match. A lot more was at stake than the $100,000 prize money.
King, then 29, was one of the best tennis players in the world and a proud feminist that was fighting for equal pay in the tennis world; Riggs, then 55, and a proud male chauvinist, was one of tennis’ most dominant competitors ever winning the men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon in 1939.
Riggs thought that no woman could beat him, because he was a man. Little did he know he was going to be facing an empowered King who knew what a win from her would mean to women not just in the United States but the entire world.
Before a packed crowd of over 30,000 at the Houston Astrodome and an estimated 90 million viewers watching across the globe, King routed Riggs in three straight sets: 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3.
In the ABC News interview below with Robin Roberts, King says to this day, someone asks or talks to her about that match whenever she’s out in public, and it’s understandable why.
To see more of the behind-the-scenes story of this infamous match, check out Battle of the Sexes in select theaters on September 22 and theaters nationwide on September 29.
Erica Banas is a lover of classic television and wishes tap dancing would make a serious comeback.