Award-winning documentary maker Ideas Roadshow recently took to social media to describe the events of the "Battle of the Sexes," praising Billie Jean King for accepting Bobby Riggs' challenge and defeating him as a record number of people from around the world watched the iconic match.
"Her extraordinary success and influence on the game gained a worldwide audience of 90 million in 1973 when she played former No. 1 player and self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes". Proclaiming loudly and often that the women's game was inferior to the men's, Billie accepted his challenge to prove him wrong. And so she did. King defeated Riggs in three sets in the most-watched tennis match of all time," Ideas Roadshow tweeted.
The tweet attracted the attention of Hungarian-American chess grandmaster Susan Polgar, who was quick to show gratitude. Polgar retweeted the post and remarked that she was grateful to King for all that she had done for women in all sports, not just tennis.
"Billie Jean has done so much for women in sports, not just tennis. I am very thankful," Polgar tweeted.
Apart from the fact that King was an extraordinary tennis player with various records against her name, the tennis world will always stay indebted to the legend for her fight off the court.
The American was best known for fighting for women's rights in sports and was able to identify the problem during the early stages of her career. That's why she once said that in order to be heard, she had to produce results on court.
“Unless I was number 1, I wouldn’t be listened to," King said.
When she won the 1972 US Open, she realized that the men's winner had been given $15,000 more than her as prize money. This led King to raise the issue of unequal pay and the different treatment of men and women.
It was because of her persistence that the US Open started distributing equal prize money the following year. Today, all the Grand Slam tournaments follow equal pay for their champions.
"The Battle of the Sexes was about much more than tennis, it was about equality, social change" - Billie Jean King
It was on September 20, 1973, when 90 million from around the globe came together to witness Billie Jean King take down Bobby Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the Battle of the Sexes. The iconic event recently completed its 49th anniversary and the legend herself tweeted the importance of the match.
"The Battle of the Sexes was about much more than tennis. It was about equality & social change. 49 years ago today, Bobby Riggs and I played in the Houston Astrodome in front of a global audience of 90M. The world was watching. 2023 will be a big year," Billie Jean King tweeted on the 49th anniversary.