Billie Jean King has 39 Grand Slam titles to her name and is praised as one of the greatest tennis players of all times. King held the world #1 ranking in women’s tennis for six of the ten years from 1966 through 1975.
She holds a record 20 titles at Wimbledon. But what gave her enormous popular celebrity came in 1973 when 90 million people worldwide watched King defeat Bobby Riggs in the so called “Battle of the Sexes.” No other sporting event has played a more significant role in developing respect and recognition for women athletes.
King remains active in tennis and has served as coach for several Olympic and Federation Cup teams.
She was honored in 2006 when the home of the U.S. Open was renamed the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
A longtime champion for social justice and equality, King is a preeminent voice in the national conversation surrounding gender equality. She was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990.