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Tennis Battle of the Sexes – Dale’s Daily Data

Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King walk off the court arm in arm after their famous Battle of the Sexes match in 1973 (Getty Images)

We have our version of the Battle of the Sexes every weekday morning here on the radio – but it’s nothing compared to the original Battle of the Sexes – a $100-thousand winner take all match back in 1973 that matched 55-year old Bobby Riggs against 28-year old Billie Jean King.

Riggs was a tennis champion from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s who had his doubts about the abilities of women tennis players and he was vocal about it.  He often told reporters women just didn’t have the stamina and strength to keep up with a man – even a man of his age.

Billie Jean King was a five-time Wimbledon champion and had been ignoring Riggs’ challenge until Riggs challenged Margaret Court – the leading money winner on the women’s pro tour at the time.  Riggs beat Court easily.

So the following year, King agreed to a match and it was played in front of more than 30-thousand people at the Houston Astrodome – the largest crowd ever to see a tennis match. 

Millions more around the world tuned in on television, but this time a completely different story.

King defeated Riggs in straight sets.  Afterward, Riggs said King was just too good, too fast.  He tried to play his game but couldn’t.

That tennis Battle of the Sexes happened on this date in 1973.

SOURCE: HistoryChannel

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