Flashback Athlete of the Month for April 2021
Billie Jean king is an icon in both the tennis world and the women’s rights movement. She is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time and in 1973 won the highly contested “battle of the sexes” against Bobby Riggs.
She is a former World no. 1 professional tennis player and has 39 Grand Slam titles under her belt and represented the United States in the Federation Cup and Wingman Cup a collective 16 times. In 1987 she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame and has a career record of 81.76% in singles.
In addition to being a fantastic athlete, King was a fierce advocate for gender equality and social justice. The “Battle of the Sexes” was an extremely important moment not just for tennis but for women, and gathered worldwide attention. During the open era, King pushed for equal prize money to be given to men and women alike. And, when she won the US open in 1972 bt received $15,000 less than the men’s champion, she said she would not be playing the next year if the prize money was still unequal. In 1973, the US Open became the first major tournament offering equal prize money to men and women. In 1990, the Women’s Hall of Fame recognized her accomplishments as well and inducted King.
She has been honored as a joint winner of Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award, as well as sole winner of the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the year lifetime achievement award and was one of the 1975 Times Persons of the year. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and countless other recognitions, awards and honors for her athleticism, coaching, and activism.