Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Billie Jean King

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”Be bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozey, and don't be afraid to hit the ball.”

- Billie Jean King

Wikipedia on Billie Jean King: “During her career, she won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She is generally considered to be one of the greatest female tennis players and female athletes in history. King has been an outspoken advocate against sexism in sports and society. The tennis match for which the public best remembers her is the "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973, in which she defeated Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon men's champion who had been the World No. 1 tennis player for the years 1946 and 1947.”

She helped found and was the first president of the women’s tennis players union, the Women’s Tennis Association. She also founded a sports magazine for women, started the Women’s Sports Foundation and, with her husband, founded World Team Tennis. King was the first woman athlete to earn $100,000 a year, she was also the first woman to coach a professional team. And, yes, in 1973 she won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 against self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs on worldwide television in front of an estimated 50 million viewers, inspiring women everywhere and sparking a huge surge in the popularity of tennis. In 1990 Life magazine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century." She was one of only four athletes on the list.

Martina Navratilova has said of King, "She was a crusader fighting a battle for all of us. She was carrying the flag; it was all right to be a jock."

More information can be found at the World Team Tennis website and Wimbledon’s Official Website.

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