Today, women play a lot of the same sports that men do. In 1973, though, many people did not think that women could play as well as men. Bobby Riggs was a top men’s player in the 1930s and 1940s. He was 55 years old in 1973. He said that women did not play tennis well. He bragged that even someone his age could beat a top female player. He challenged a top player named Margaret Court and won the match.
Billie Jean King was a top tennis player. She decided to play tennis against Riggs. She wanted to prove him wrong. Ninety million people in the United States watched the match on television. No tennis match before or after has had so many viewers! King beat Riggs. She was happy to show that women were great tennis players. A lot of people became interested in tennis, too.
Billie Jean King’s win made more women want to play sports. They knew they could be equal to men.
What Do You Think? Do you think women deserve the same pay and respect as men in sports? Why do you think so?
Photo Credit: CSU Archives/Everett Collection Historical/Alamy Stock Photo