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20 Sep 1973: Bobby Riggs of the USA comes off court defeated by Billie Jean-King of the USA after a Battle of the Sexes Challenge Match held at the Astrodome, in Houston, Texas. The battle of the sexes match came about after Bobby Riggs had challenged King to a best of five set match stating no woman could beat him. King therefore proved him wrong and won the match in straight sets with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win. At the time it was watched by the biggest ever audience for a tennis match with a crowd of over30,472 watching at the arena with another 40 million watching on television sets around the world. Mandatory Credit: AllsportUK /Allsport

The Battle Of The Sexes tennis match was 49 years ago, tonight!

Remember, Bobby Riggs took on Billie Jean King in a tennis exhibition, and 90 million of us tuned in.

Billie Jean King

2022 US Open - Day 11

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

First, lets talk about Billie Jean King.  In September of 1973, Ms. King was the No1. ranked women’s tennis player in the world.  In 1973, King won her fifth Wimbledon singles titile, defeating Chris Evert in the finals.  Along with winning the singles title, she also won the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles titles, “The Triple Crown”.  She fell ill at the US Open that year, retiring in her fourth round match.

Bobby Riggs

Bobby Riggs

AllsportUK /Allsport

Bobby Riggs was at one time, the No.1 ranked male tennis player, but that was in 1946 and 1947.  In 1973, he challenged a number of female tennis players to a match.  Margaret Court accepted.  In May, Riggs defeated Court 6-1, 6-2.  He then focused his attention on King, who he described as the “women’s libber leader”.  King accepted the challenge.

The Battle Of The Sexes

On September 20th 1973, the site was the Houston Astrodome.  Anybody that was anybody was there, including Howard Cosell, who called the match for ABC.  There were over 30,000 in the stands and over 90 million watching on television.  King won all three sets 6-4, 6-3. 6-3.  Afterwards, Riggs said “I underestimated Billie Jean and overestimated myself”.  King to this day has confessed about just how nervous she was before the match.

Riggs died at the age of 77 in 1995.  To this day, Billie Jean King is still very active in the game.  The court at the US Open bears her name.  She is still leading the cause for women’s rights, not only in sports but in all phases of life.

The last note to mention on this event is that it was made into a movie back in 1977.  Steve Carell played Riggs and Emma Stone played King.  Stone was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress-Musical or Comedy.