September 20 - 1973 - The Battle of the Sexes Tennis Match

By 1973, Bobby Riggs was a former World Number One Tennis Player and an active senior player. He also was an inveterate braggart and self-publicist, which is why he decided to constantly challenge a leading female player to a match to show he was still better. Riggs initially faced World Number One player Margaret Court, a physically impressive Australian player, and beat her so badly in May of 1973 that it was dubbed "The Mother's Day Massacre." At that point, Billie Jean King, who Riggs had initially wanted to play, stepped up and agreed to face Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome. Billie Jean King was helping to advance Women's Tennis through a new tour, the Virginia Slims Series, and advocating for better prize money for women's players. Billie Jean King was the second best women's player in the world, after Margaret Court, but she was the best opponent for Bobby Riggs. Knowing Riggs would use the drop-shot and lob approach he had used to beat Court, King adjusted her strategy from her usual serve-and-volley approach. Instead, she made Riggs move and wore him out. In the aftermath of the "Battle of the Sexes," women's tennis would get a huge boost in popularity, and Billie Jean King would become an even bigger force in the sports world.

William Floyd