The battle of the sexes with Billie Jean King

In the 1970’s chauvinistic pig Bobby Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a tennis match to prove that men were better and women belonged in the bedroom…

Before today I had only vaguely heard of a tennis match between Billie Jean King and a male tennis player, but I didn’t really know much about it. But then my friend and I watched a documentary about it called “The Battle of The Sexes” which showed how the match came about and why it was so important. 

A quick description of what happened:

  • Bobby Riggs, an excellent tennis player but a self proclaimed chauvinistic pig
  • He challenges female tennis players to play him to prove that any man can beat any woman
  • Margaret Court takes him up on that offer
  • Bobby gives Margaret a bunch of flowers before the game which she takes and then courtesies to him
  • Margaret Court loses the match badly (2-6, 1-6)
  • Billie Jean King eventually agrees to play Bobby in a $100,000 winner takes all match
  • Billie Jean King smashes it, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-3


The documentary also explores the serious lack of equality in tennis. Prize money was one of the biggest issues with the men getting double what the women got, even in the mixed doubles. There also wasn’t a tour for females players but then Billie Jean King founded the WTA

To be honest Bobby Riggs was a total and utter chauvinistic douche bag but I think he was more a hustler than anything else. The guy said some things that will make you laugh because of the sheer ridiculousness of them. E.g. Women belong in the bedroom and in the kitchen. 

A Lasting Friendship

Billie and Bobby remained friends and just before Bobby died they spoke about the match on the phone. Billie recalls that Bobby’s last words to her were “We really made a different, didn’t we Billie?” Ironically, the man that wanted to prove that men were far more superior than women actually changed women’s tennis for the better.

A new film about the famous tennis match is out this year staring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. I recommend you Google Billie Jean King and read about what an amazing woman she is and what she’s done for women’s equality. Just if you want to. But I think you totes should because she’s awesome.