In the infant stages of the women’s liberation movement, an Australian tennis player faced off in a “battle of the sexes” match on Mo...
In the infant stages of the women’s liberation movement, an Australian tennis player faced off in a “battle of the sexes” match on Mother’s Day 50 years ago with a male player who doubted women’s’ abilities on the court.
The $10,000 winner-take-all challenge match with 55-year-old Riggs Bobby Riggs, a tennis champion from the late 1930s and ’40s, and 30-year-old Margaret Court — who had recently returned to tennis after giving birth to her first child in 1972, according to the Women’s Tennis Association. — was televised internationally from the San Vincente Country Club in Ramona, California, on May 13, 1973.
The match was a 6-2, 6-1 defeat that took less than an hour. It later became known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” The event would lead to the famous “Battle of the Sexes” later that year, which was won by Billie Jean King against Riggs.
Also in 1973, the U.S. Open became the first sporting event in history to offer equal prize money to both men and women competitors, with each competing for total purses of $100,000, including a $25,000 payout to champions.
Perspectives: Billie Jean King on Title IX 40th anniversary
Women’s tennis pioneer Billie Jean King on the 40th anniversary of Title IX, her Women’s Sports Foundation, which she says helps “keep girls in the game,” and her now famous “Battle of the Sexes” against Bobby Riggs.
Eileen Rivers, USA TODAY
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