- Billie Jean King
Infobox Tennis player
playername = Billie Jean King
country = USA
residence = U.S.
datebirth = Birth date and age|1943|11|22
Long Beach, California
height = 5 ft 4½ in (164 cm)
turnedpro = 1968
retired = 1983
plays = Right
careerprizemoney = US$1,966,487 [http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/players/playerprofiles/Playerbio.asp?PlayerID=110100 Women's Tennis Association biography of Billie Jean King] ]
singlesrecord = 695–155 (as shown on WTA website)
singlestitles = 129 (84 during
highestsinglesranking = 1 (1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1974)
AustralianOpenresult = W (1968)
FrenchOpenresult = W (1972)
Wimbledonresult = W (1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975)
USOpenresult = W (1967, 1971, 1972, 1974)
doublesrecord = 87–37 (as shown on WTA website)
February 7, 2008
Billie Jean King ("née" Moffitt) (born
November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California) is a retired tennisplayer from the United States. She won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. King has been an outspoken advocate against sexismin sports and society. The tennis match for which the public best remembers her is the "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973, in which she defeated Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon men's champion who had been one of the leading male players in the 1930s and 1940s. [http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016060.html Billie Jean won for all women] ]
King is the founder of the
Women's Tennis Association, the Women's Sports Foundation, and World Team Tennis, which she founded with her former husband, Lawrence King.
Billie Jean King was born Billie Jean Moffitt. She was born into a conservative Methodist family, the daughter of a firefighter father [cite web |url= http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/billiejean_king.html |title=Official Wimbledon profile of Billie Jean King |accessdate=2007-02-15] and housewife mother. Her younger brother
Randy Moffittgrew up to become a professional baseballplayer, pitching for 12 years in the major leagues for the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays. [cite web |url= http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/moffira01.shtml |title= Randy Moffitt Statistics |accessdate=2007-02-15]
Long Beach Polytechnic High School. [cite web |url=http://www.kingsschools.org/pr_si-article.asp |title= Press Release - King's Schools |accessdate=2007-02-15] She then attended California State University at Los Angeles(CSULA) because her parents could not afford Stanfordor UCLA. Even at CSULA, King had to work two jobs to pay her way. [ [http://www.stanfordreview.org/Archive/Volume_XXXVIII/Issue_6/News/news2.shtml Billy (sic) Jean King Commemorates Title IX's 35th Anniversary] ]
She married Lawrence King in
Long Beach, Californiaon September 17, 1965. ["Billie Jean King of Her Family," Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 23, 1965, page C-4] In 1971, she had an abortion, which was revealed to the public in a "Ms. Magazine" article in 1972 by Lawrence without consulting Billie Jean in advance. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/26/arts/television/26stan.html The Legacy of Billie Jean King, an Athlete Who Demanded Equal Play] ] King said in her 1982 autobiography that she decided to have an abortion because she believed her marriage was not, at that time, solid enough to bring a child into her family. [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=19|isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] Billie Jean and Lawrence divorced in 1987.
By 1968, King realized that she was interested in women, and in 1971, King began an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett. King acknowledged the relationship when it became public in a May 1981 palimony lawsuit filed by Barnett, becoming the first prominent professional female athlete to come out as
gay. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article3021888.ece The Big Interview: Billie Jean King (December 9, 2007)] ] King said that she had wanted to retire from competitive tennis in 1981 but could not afford to because of the lawsuit. "Within 24 hours [of the lawsuit being filed] , I lost all my endorsements; I lost everything. I lost $2 million at least, because I had longtime contracts. I had to play just to pay for the lawyers. In three months I went through $500,000. I was in shock. I didn't make $2 million in my lifetime, so it's all relative to what you make." [ [http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2006/12/03/no_royalty_like_king/?page=4 No royalty like King] ] King said in 1998 that Martina Navratilovawas not supportive when King was outed, resulting in their relationship having a "very bad five years." [ [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-20979892.html Billie Jean King (interview)] ] Speaking about the lawsuit in 2007, 26 years after it was filed, King said, "It was very hard on me because I was outed and I think you have to do it in your own time. Fifty per cent of gay people know who they are by the age of 13, I was in the other 50%. I would never have married Larry if I’d known. I would never have done that to him. I was totally in love with Larry when I was 21." Concerning the personal cost of concealing her sexuality for so many years, King said,
She is a friend of
Elton John, and was a friend of the late Charles M. Schulz.
In 1999, King was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Philip Morris Incorporated, garnering some criticism from anti-tobacco groups. [ [http://www.cleanlungs.com/education/features/king.html Billie Jean King Elected To Philip Morris Board] ] She no longer serves in that capacity.
King appeared as a judge on "
Law & Order", one of her favorite television shows, on April 27, 2007.
King currently resides in New York and Chicago [ [http://www.imgspeakers.com/_images/speakers/KingBillieJean.pdf Billie Jean King, Mother of Modern Sports] ] with partner
Ilana Kloss. [ [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_445847.html Evert, Navratilova weigh in on tennis legend Billie Jean King] ]
Playing style and personality
King learned to play tennis on the public courts of Long Beach, California. [cite web |url= http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=171 |title= International Tennis Hall of Fame biography of Billie Jean Moffitt King |accessdate=2007-02-15] She was an aggressive, hard-hitting net-rusher, with excellent speed.
Chris Evert, however, said about King, "Her weakness is her impatience." [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907800-2,00.html Chris Evert: Miss Cool on the Court] ]
Concerning her motivations in life and tennis, King said, "Any time you're satisfied with mediocrity, any time you take away incentive from human beings, you've blown it. I'm a perfectionist much more than I'm a super competitor, and there's a big difference there.... I've been painted as a person who only competes. ... But most of all, I get off on hitting a shot correctly. ... Any woman who wants to achieve anything has to be aggressive and tough, but the press never sees us as multidimensional. They don't see the emotions, the downs...." ["Billie Jean King a perfectionist," New Mexican,
Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 1, 1980, page C-7] In a 1984 interview just after she had turned 40, King said, "Sometimes when I'm watching someone like Martina [Navratilova] , I remember how nice it was to be No. 1. Believe me, it's the best time in your life. Don't let anyone ever tell you different. But then I think about the emotional and physical effort it takes to be No. 1, and I realize it's not there anymore. I know that, and it's OK. It's part of the process. My only regret is that I had to do too much "off" the court. Deep down, I wonder how good I really could have been if I [had] concentrated just on tennis." ["The Challenge of Her Life - Billie Jean at 40," Parade Magazine, Syracuse Herald Journal, January 8, 1984, page 7] Julie Heldman, who frequently played King but never felt close to her, said about King's personality, "One of the reasons I've never gotten close to Billie Jean is that I've never felt strong enough to survive against that overwhelming personality of hers. People talk about me being the smart one. Let me tell you, Billie Jean's the smartest one, the cleverest one you'll ever see. She was the one who was able to channel everything into winning, into being the most consummate tennis player." [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089860/4/index.htm Mrs. Billie Jean King!] ] Kristen Kemmer Shaw, another frequent opponent of King, said, "For a time, I think I was as close to Billie Jean as anyone ever was. But as soon as I got to the point where I could read her too well, she tried to dissociate the relationship. She doesn't want to risk appearing weak in front of anybody. She told me once that if you want to be the best, you must never let anyone, anyone, know what you really feel. You see, she told me, they can't hurt you if they don't know." [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089860/4/index.htm Mrs. Billie Jean King!] ] King once said, "Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever." [cite web |url=http://www.allthingswilliam.com/victory.html |title=all things William |accessdate=2007-02-15]
Concerning the qualities of a champion tennis player, King said,
May 19, 1975, Sports Illustratedarticle about King, Frank Defordnoted that she had become something of a sex symbol and said, "Billie Jean cackles when the matter of her being a sex symbol is raised. 'Hysterical! Hysterical! Me, with these little short legs!' But she is practical enough to realize that a guy who buys a ticket to look at the girls has bought a ticket as sure as the guy who buys a ticket to look at the girls' forehands. ... Billie Jean herself not only thinks that sex is a dandy thing to have lurking around sports, but she also employs sex as sort of the ultimate gauge of equality between women's and men's athletics. This may be described as the Get-It Quotient.... 'There's a lot of ugly fellas among the male athletes, but just because they're athletes they get it all the time, don't they? Now, never mind prize money and publicity and all that. When we reach the point where all the women athletes are getting it, too, regardless of their looks, just like the fellas, then we've really arrived.'" [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089860/5/index.htm Mrs. Billie Jean King!] ]
The early years: 1959 through 1965
In 1959, the 15-year-old King had her Grand Slam debut at the U.S. Championships, losing to
Justina Brickain the first round 4–6, 7–5, 6–4 after having had a match point. In July and August, King played four of the tournaments that comprised the "Eastern Grass Court Circuit." At the Middle States Grass Court Championships in Philadelphia, King lost to Nancy Richey Gunterin the quarterfinals. At the PennsylvaniaLawn Tennis Championships, King lost to Karen Hantze Susmanin the quarterfinals. At the Philadelphia and District Women's Grass Court Championships, King defaulted her quarterfinal match with Kathy Chabotwhile trailing 6–1, 1–2. At the Eastern Grass Court Championships, King lost to Maria Buenoin the third round 6–4, 6–4. In her final adult tournament of the year, King lost (7–5 in the third set) to Ann Haydon Jonesin the third round of the Pacific Southwest Championships. Alice Marble, winner of 18 Grand Slam titles from 1936 through 1940, began coaching King on weekends during 1959, saying, "Clyde Walker has given Billie all the tools she needs to be a winner. Now all she needs is confidence and time." [Teele, Jack, "The Sports Beat," Long Beach (California) Press-Telegram, November 12, 1959, page D-3] King, however, believes that Maureen Connolly Brinkeralmost permanently destroyed her confidence as a player when Connolly Brinker mistakenly thought that the type of reverse psychologywhich motivated herself to become the World No. 1 also would work on King. While the 15-year-old King was practicing on the Junior Wightman Cupteam, Connolly Brinker took her to dinner and said, "Look, I just want to let you know: you'll never make it. So don't bother." About ten years later, King learned the truth. While watching the team practice, Connolly Brinker had asked an assistant coach of the team who the top prospect was. When the coach responded with Tory Fretz, Connolly Brinker laughed, pointed at King, and said, "Oh no, the only one with any real chance at all is that one." [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=96|isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=]
In 1960, King won her first adult tournament title at the
Philadelphiaand District Women's Grass Court Championships, defeating Karen Hantze Susmanin the quarterfinals. At the U.S. Championships, King was defeated in the third round by seventh-seeded Bernice Carr Vukovichof South Africa7–5, 6–4. King lost four significant matches to veteran players. In May, she lost in the quarterfinals of the Southern California Championships 6–4, 2–6, 6–4 to 43 year old Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney, who was the first American to win the singles title at the Australian Championshipsin 1938. Two months later, King lost in the second round of the U.S. Women's Clay Court Championships 1–6, 6–0, 6–3 to 35 year old but second-seeded Dorothy Head Knode, who went on to win the title for the fourth and final time. The next week, King was defeated in the semifinals of the Pennsylvania Lawn Tennis Championships 6–4, 2–6, 6–2 by 42 year old Margaret Osborne duPont, a six-time Grand Slam singles champion. In her last tournament of the year, King, the top seed, lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Hard Court Championships to Cheney 6–3, 4–6, 6–3.
King first gained international recognition in 1961 when, at age 17, she won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon in her first attempt while partnering
Karen Hantze Susman. [cite web |url=http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/billiejean_king.html |title=Official Wimbledon profile of Billie Jean King |accessdate=2007-02-15] Although unseeded, King and Susman defeated the top seeded team of Renee Schuurman Haygarthand Sandra Reynolds Pricein the quarterfinals and the third seeded team of Margaret Smith Courtand Jan Lehane O'Neillin the final. In second round singles play at Wimbledon, fifth-seeded Yola Ramirez Ochoadefeated King in a two-day match on Centre Court[cite book |author=Collins, Bud |title=My Life With the Pros |publisher=E.P. Dutton |location=New York |year=1989 |pages=261 |isbn=0-525-24659-2 |oclc= |doi=] 11–9, 1–6, 6–2 after King had received a first round bye. Earlier in the year, King lost to Susman in the final of the Southern California Championships but successfully defended her title in Philadelphiaand won the PennsylvaniaLawn Tennis Championships for the first time. Christine Truman Janes, the fourth seed, defeated the unseeded King in the second round of the U.S. Championships 6–3, 3–6, 6–2. At the Pacific Southwest Championships, King lost in the third round to Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney (then 45 years old) 6–1, 3–6, 6–3 for the third consecutive time. Playing in the Wightman Cupfor the first time, King defeated Ann Haydon Jonesbut lost to Janes.
In 1962, King lost to Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney (now 45 years old) for the fourth time in four career matches, this time in the semifinals of the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. The following week,
Karen Hantze Susmandefeated King in the final of the Southern California Championships for the second consecutive year. In only her second career singles match at Wimbledon, King upset Margaret Smith Court, the World No. 1 and top seed, in a second round match by attacking Court's forehand ["Billie Moffitt's Strategy - Attack!," The Kansas City Times, June 27, 1962, page 15] after Court had led in the third set 3–0, 5–2, and served at 5–3 (30–15). [cite book |author=Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean |title=We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis |publisher=McGraw-Hill |location=New York |year=1988 |pages=106 |isbn=0-07-034625-9 |oclc= |doi=] This was the first time in Wimbledon history that the women's top seed had lost her first match. ["Wimbledon Upset," Beckley (West Virginia) Post-Herald, June 27, 1962, page 2] King eventually reached the quarterfinals, losing to fifth-seeded Ann Haydon Jones6–3, 6–1. One month later, Court defeated King in the semifinals of both the PennsylvaniaLawn Tennis Championships (6–4, 6–3) and the Eastern Grass Court Championships (6–3, 6–4). At the Wightman Cup, King and Susman lost their only match of the tie to the team of Jones and Christine Truman Janes. At the U.S. Championships, King got injured and retired from her first round match with Victoria Palmerwhile leading 8–6, 0–5. King ended her year by losing to Renee Schuurman Haygarthin the quarterfinals of the Pacific Southwest Championships.
In 1963, King won the Southern California Championships for the first time, defeating
Darlene Hardin the final. At Wimbledon, the unseeded King defeated seventh-seeded Maria Buenoin the quarterfinals 6–2, 7–5 and third-seeded Ann Haydon Jonesin the semifinals 6–4, 6–4 before losing the final to top-seeded Margaret Smith Court. The following week, King won her first international title at the Irish Championships. In Wightman Cupcompetition, King defeated Christine Truman Janes6–4, 19–17 and Jones. King was seeded third at the U.S. Championships but lost her fourth round match with unseeded Dierdre Catt Keller McMahon. At the year ending Pacific Southwest Championships, King defeated Jones and Bueno before losing to Hard in the final.
In 1964, King won four relatively minor titles but lost to
Margaret Smith Courtin the Wimbledon semifinals 6–3, 6–4. King defeated Ann Haydon Jonesat both the Wightman Cupand Federation Cup but lost to Court in the final of the Federation Cup 6–2, 6–3. At the U.S. Championships, fifth-seeded Nancy Richey Gunterupset third-seeded King in the quarterfinals 6–4, 6–4. Late in the year, King decided to make a full-time commitment to tennis. She said,
While in Australia, King played three tournaments to end the year, losing in the quarterfinals of the
QueenslandGrass Court Championships, the final of the New South Wales Championships (to Court), and the third round of the Victorian Championships.
In early 1965, King continued her 3-month tour of Australia. She lost in the final of the
South Australian Championships and the first round of the Western AustraliaChampionships. At the Federation Cup in Melbourne, King defeated Ann Haydon Jonesto help the United Statesdefeat the United Kingdomin the second round. However, Margaret Smith Courtagain defeated King in the final. At the Australian Championships two weeks later, King lost to Court in the semifinals 6–1, 8–6. At Wimbledon, King lost in the semifinals for the third consecutive year, this time to Maria Bueno6–4, 5–7, 6–3. King's last tournament of the year was the U.S. Championships, where she defeated Jones in the quarterfinals (16–14, 6–2) and Bueno in the semifinals. In the final, King led 5–3 in both sets, was two points from winning the first set, and had two set points in the second set ["Santana, Miss Smith Grab U.S. Tennis Championships," Pacific Stars & Stripes, September 14, 1965, page 20] before losing to Court 8–6, 7–5. King said that losing while being so close to winning was devastating, but the match proved to her that she was "good enough to be the best in the world. I'm going to win Wimbledon next year."cite book |author=Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean |title=We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis |publisher=McGraw-Hill |location=New York |year=1988 |pages=114 |isbn=0-07-034625-9 |oclc= |doi=] King won six tournaments during the year. For the first time in 81 years, the annual convention of the United States Lawn Tennis Association overruled its ranking committee's recommendation to award King the sole U.S. No. 1 position and voted 59,810 to 40,966 to rank Nancy Richey Gunterand King as co-U.S. No. 1. ["Billie Jean Must Share No. 1 Rating," Independent Press-Telegram ( Long Beach, California), February 6, 1966, page C-1]
Prime competitive years: 1966 through 1975
Overview of these years
From 1966 through 1975, King won 32 of her career 39 Grand Slam titles, including all 12 of her Grand Slam singles titles, 9 of her 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 10 of her 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Six of King's Grand Slam singles titles were at Wimbledon, four were at the U.S. Championships/Open, one was at the
French Open, and one was at the Australian Championships. King reached the final of a Grand Slam singles tournament in 16 out of 25 attempts and had a 12–4 win-loss record in those finals. In the nine tournaments that she failed to reach the final, she was a losing semifinalist twice and a losing quarterfinalist five times. From 1971 through 1975, King won seven of the ten Grand Slam singles tournaments she played. She won the last seven Grand Slam singles finals she contested, six of them in straight sets and four of them against Evonne Goolagong Cawley. All but one of King's Grand Slam singles titles were on grass.
King's Grand Slam record from 1966 through 1975 was comparable to that of
Margaret Smith Court, her primary rival during these years. One or both of these women played 35 of the 40 Grand Slam singles tournaments held during this period, and together they won 24 of them. During this period, Court won 31 of her career 64 Grand Slam titles, including 12 of her 24 Grand Slam singles titles, 11 of her 19 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 8 of her 21 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Court reached the final of a Grand Slam singles tournament in 14 out of 25 attempts and had a 12–2 win-loss record in those finals. Court won 7 of the 12 Grand Slam finals she played against King during these years, including 2–1 in singles finals, 4–1 in women's doubles finals, and 1–3 in mixed doubles finals.
King was the year-ending World No. 1 in six of the ten years from 1966 through 1975. She was the year-ending World No. 2 in three of those years and the World No. 3 in the other year.
King won 97 of her career 129 singles titles during this period and was the runner-up in 36 other tournaments.
In 1966, King defeated Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney (then 49 years old) for the first time in five career matches, winning their semifinal at the Southern California Championships 6–0, 6–3. King also ended her nine match losing streak to
Margaret Smith Courtby defeating her in the final of the South African Tennis Championships. At the Wightman Cupjust before Wimbledon, King defeated Virginia Wadeand Ann Haydon Jones. After thirteen unsuccessful attempts to win a Grand Slam singles title from 1959 through 1965, King at the age of 22 finally won the first of her six singles titles at Wimbledon and the first of twelve Grand Slam singles titles overall, defeating Court in the semifinals 6–3, 6–3 and Maria Buenoin the final. King credited her semifinal victory to her forehand down the line, a new shot in her repertoire. She also said that the strategy for playing Court is, "Simple. Just chip the ball back at her feet." [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1078753/index.htm Manolo is king, and a King is queen] ] At the U.S. Championships, an ill King was upset by Kerry Melville Reidin the second round. [ [http://news.elementfx.com/1966-tennis.html News Archive; 1966: Tennis] ]
King successfully defended her title at the
South African Tennis Championships in 1967, defeating Maria Buenoin the final. She played the French Championships for the first time in her career, [King claims that the United States Lawn Tennis Association prohibited her from playing the French Championships earlier in her career because the association needed her to play grass court tournaments in the United States to draw crowds. cite book |author=Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean |title=We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis |publisher=McGraw-Hill |location=New York |year=1988 |pages=114 |isbn=0-07-034625-9 |oclc= |doi=] falling in the quarterfinals to Annette Van Zyl DuPlooy of South Africa. At the Federation Cup one week later in West Germanyon clay, King won all four of her matches, including victories over DuPlooy, Ann Haydon Jones, and Helga Niessen Masthoff. King then successfully switched surfaces and won her second consecutive Wimbledon singles title, defeating Virginia Wadein the quarterfinals 7–5, 6–2 and Jones. At the Wightman Cup, King again defeated Wade and Jones. King won her second Grand Slam singles title of the year when she won the U.S. Championships for the first time and without losing a set, defeating Wade, DuPlooy, Francoise Durr, and Jones in consecutive matches. Jones pulled her left hamstring muscle early in the final and saved four match points in the second set before King prevailed. ["Aussie, Billie Jean Capture U.S. Titles," Oakland Tribune, September 11, 1967, page 40-E] King won the singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles titles at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships, the first woman to do that since Alice Marblein 1939. [ [http://news.elementfx.com/1967-tennis.html News Archive; 1967: Tennis] ] King then returned to the Australian summer tour in December for the first time since 1965, playing seven events there and Judy Tegart Daltonin six of those events (winning four of their matches). King lost in the quarterfinals of the New South Wales Championships in Sydneyto Dalton after King injured her left knee in the second game of the third set of that match. ["Injury May Force King Out Of Tennis Tourney," Florence Morning News, November 25, 1967, page 6] However, King won the Victorian Championships in Melbournethe following week, defeating Dalton, Reid, and Lesley Turner Bowreyin the last three rounds. At a team event in Adelaide, King won all three of her singles and doubles matches to help the U.S. defeat Australia 5–1. To finish the year, King lost to Dalton in the final of the South Australian Championships in Adelaide.
In early 1968, King won three consecutive tournaments to end her
Australian tour. In Perth, King won the Western AustraliaChampionships, defeating Margaret Smith Courtin the final. In Hobart, King won the Tasmanian Championships by defeating Judy Tegart Daltonin the final. King then won the Australian Championships for the first time, defeating Dalton in the semifinals and Court in the final. King continued to win tournaments upon her return to the United States, winning three indoor tournaments before Nancy Richey Gunterdefeated King in the semifinals of the Madison Square GardenChallenge Trophy amateur tournament in New York Citybefore 10,233 spectators. [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0F15F8345D147493C2AA1788D85F4C8685F9 Miss Richey Upsets Mrs. King, 4-6, 7-5, 6-0, to Gain Garden Tennis Final] ] The match started with Gunter taking a 4–2 lead in the first set, before King won 9 of the next 10 games. King served for the match at 5–1 and had a match point at 5–3 in the second set; however, she lost the final 12 games and the match 4–6, 7–5, 6–0. [ [http://news.elementfx.com/1968-tennis.html News Archive; 1968: Tennis] ] King then won three consecutive tournaments in Europe before losing to Ann Haydon Jonesin the final of a professional tournament at Madison Square Garden. Playing the French Openfor only the second time in her career and attempting to win four consecutive Grand Slam singles titles (a "non-calendar year Grand Slam"), King defeated Maria Buenoin a quarterfinal before losing to Gunter in a semifinal 2–6, 6–3, 6–4. King rebounded to win her third consecutive Wimbledon singles title, defeating Jones in the semifinals and Dalton in the final. At the US Open, King defeated Bueno in a semifinal before being upset in the final by Virginia Wade. On September 24, she had surgery to repair cartilage in her left knee [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10D16FE3B5D11738FDDAD0A94D1405B888AF1D3 Mrs. King Undergoes Successful Surgery] ] and did not play in tournaments the remainder of the year. King said that it took eight months (May 1969) for her knee to recover completely from the surgery. ["Surgery for Billie Jean," Independent Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, July 11, 1970, page C-1] In 1977, King said that her doctors predicted in 1968 that her left knee would allow her to play competitive tennis for only two more years. ["King Will Resume Singles Competition," The Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1977, page 14]
King participated in the 1969
Australian summer tour for the second consecutive year. Unlike the previous year, King did not win a tournament. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tasmanian Championships and the semifinals of the New South Wales Championships. At the Australian Open, King defeated 17 year old Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the second round 6–3, 6–1 and Ann Haydon Jonesin a three-set semifinal before losing to Margaret Smith Courtin a straight-sets final. The following week, King lost in the semifinals of the New ZealandChampionships. Upon her return to the United States, King won the Pacific Coast Pro and the Los AngelesPro. King then won two tournaments in South Africa, including the South African Open. During the European summer clay courtseason, King lost in the quarterfinals of both the Italian Open and the French Open. On grass at the Wills Open in Bristol, United Kingdom, King defeated Virginia Wadein the semifinals (6–8, 11–9, 6–2) before losing to Court. At Wimbledon, King lost only 13 points while defeating Rosemary Casalsin the semifinals 6–1, 6–0; ["Mrs. King Crushes Foe," Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, July 3, 1969, page 12-A] however, Jones upset King in the final and prevented King from winning her fourth consecutive singles title there. The week after, King again defeated Wade to win the Irish Open for the second time in her career. In the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, King lost in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Nancy Richey Gunter6–4, 8–6. This was the first year since 1965 that King did not win at least one Grand Slam singles title. King finished the year with titles at the [http://www.countrywideclassic.com/history.htm Pacific Southwest Open] in Los Angeles, the StockholmIndoors, and the Midland (Texas) Pro. She said during the Pacific Southwest Open, "It has been a bad year for me. My left knee has been OK, but I have been bothered by a severe tennis elbow for seven months. I expect to have a real big year in 1970, though, because I really have the motivation now. I feel like a kid again." ["Billie Jean, Pancho Gain Pacific Southwest Finals," Independent Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, September 28, 1969, page S-6]
Margaret Smith Courtwon all four Grand Slam singles tournaments and was clearly the World No. 1. King lost to Court three times in the first four months of the year, in Philadelphia, Dallas, and Johannesburg(at the South African Open). Court, however, was not totally dominant during this period as King defeated her in Sydneyand Durban, South Africa. Where Court dominated was at the Grand Slam tournaments. King did not play the Australian Open. King had leg cramps and lost to Helga Niessen Masthoffof West Germanyin the quarterfinals of the French Open2–6, 8–6, 6–1. [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70717F93F5812718DDDAD0894DE405B808BF1D3 Mrs. King, Hobbled by Leg Cramps, Loses to Miss Niessen in French Tennis] ] At Wimbledon, Court needed seven match points [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wimbledon2000/fans_guide/769768.stm Classic women's singles finals] ] to defeat King in the final 14–12, 11–9 in one of the greatest women's finals in the history of the tournament. [ [http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/margaret_court.html Margaret Court/Smith (Wimbledon official website)] ] On July 22, ["Billie Jean Has Knee Surgery," Wisconsin State Journal, July 23, 1970, section 2, page 3] King had right knee surgery, which forced her to miss the US Open. King returned to the tour in September, where she had a first round loss at the Virginia SlimsInvitational in Houston and a semifinal loss at the Pacific Coast Championships in Berkeley, California. To close out the year, King in November won the Virginia Slims Invitational in Richmond, Virginiaand the Embassy Indoor Tennis Championships in London. During the European clay court season, King warmed-up for the French Open by playing in Monte Carlo(losing in the semifinals), winning the Italian Open (saving three match points against Virginia Wadein the semifinals), ["Billie Jean King, Julia Heldman score victories," Winona (Minnesota) Daily News, April 26, 1970, page 7b] playing in Bournemouth(losing to Wade in the quarterfinals), and playing in Berlin (losing to Masthoff in the semifinals). The Italian Open victory was the first important clay court title of King's career. Along the way, she defeated Masthoff in a three-set quarterfinal and Wade in a three-set semifinal, saving two match points at 4–5 in the second set. The twelfth game of that set (with King leading 6–5) had 21 deuces and lasted 22 minutes, [cite book |author=Tingay, Lance |title=The Guinness Book of Tennis Facts & Feats |publisher=Guinness Superlatives |location=Enfield, Middlesex |year=1983 |pages=26 |isbn=085112268x |oclc= |doi=] with Wade saving seven set points and holding sixteen game points before King won. In Wightman Cupcompetition two weeks before Wimbledon but played at the All England Club, King defeated both Wade and Ann Haydon Jonesin straight sets.
Although King won only one Grand Slam singles title in 1971, this was the best year of her career in terms of tournaments won (17). According to the
International Tennis Hall of Fame, she played in 31 singles tournaments and compiled a 112–13 win-loss record. [ [http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=171 Official profile on the International Tennis Hall of Famewebsite] ]
She started the year by winning eight of the first thirteen tournaments she played, defeating
Rosemary Casalsin seven finals. King's five losses during this period were to Francoise Durr(twice), Casals (once), Ann Haydon Jones(once), and Chris Evert(in St. Petersburg). The St. Petersburg tournament was King's first since having an abortion that caused her to miss the Virginia Slimstour event in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the time, King said that retiring from the match with Evert after splitting the first two sets was necessary because of leg cramps. But in early 1972, King admitted that cramps associated with the abortion caused the retirement. ["Tennis Pro Favors Abortion," Tucson (Arizona) Daily-Citizen, February 23, 1972, page 16.]
At the tournament in
Hurlingham, United Kingdomin early May, King lost a second round match to an old rival, Christine Truman Janes(now 30 years old), 6–4, 6–2. But King recovered the next week to win the German Open in Hamburgon clay. Four weeks later at the Queen's Clubtournament in London, King played Margaret Smith Courtfor the first time in 1971, losing their final. At Wimbledon, King defeated Janes in the fourth round (6–2, 7–5) and Durr in the quarterfinals before losing unexpectedly to Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the semifinals 6–4, 6–4. Two weeks after Wimbledon, King won the grass courttournament in Hoylake, United Kingdom, beating Virginia Wade, Court, and Casals in the last three rounds. She then played two clay court tournaments in Europe, winning neither, before resuming play in the United States.
In August, King won the indoor
Houstontournament and the U.S. Women's Clay Court Championships in Indianapolis. King then switched back to grass and won the US Open without losing a set, defeating Evert in the semifinals (6–3, 6–2) and Casals in the final. King then won the tournaments in Louisville, Phoenix, and London (Wembley Pro). King and Casals both defaulted at 6–6 in the final of the Pepsi Pacific Southwest Open in Los Angelesin September when their request to remove a lineswoman was denied, eventually resulting in the United States Lawn Tennis Associationfining both players US$2,500. ["Female tennis stars 'even'," The Idaho Free Press, January 5, 1972, page 12] To end the year, King played two tournaments in New Zealandbut did not win either. She lost in Christchurchto Durr and in Aucklandto Kerry Melville Reid.
King won three Grand Slam singles titles in 1972, electing not to play the
Australian Opendespite being nearby when she played in New Zealandin late-1971. King said, "I was twenty-eight years old, and I was at the height of my powers. I'm quite sure I could have won the Grand Slam [in] ... 1972, but the Australian was such a minor-league tournament at that time.... More important, I did not want to miss any Virginia Slims winter tournaments. I was playing enough as it was." [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=20 |isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=]
At the beginning of the year, King failed to win eight of the first ten tournaments she played. She won the title in
San Franciscoin mid-January. But then King lost in Long Beach to Francoise Durr(although King claimed in her 1982 autobiography that she intentionally lost the match because of an argument with her husband [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=93 |isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] ) and in Fort Lauderdale on clay to Chris Evert6–1, 6–0. The inconsistent results continued through mid-April, in Oklahoma City(losing in the quarterfinals); Washington, D.C.(losing in the second round); and Dallas(losing to Nancy Richey Gunterafter defeating Evert in the quarterfinals 6–7(4–5), 6–3, 7–5 and Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the semifinals 1–6, 6–4, 6–1). [For a description of the Dallas tournanment in 1972, see [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085895/2/index.htm the Sports Illustratedarticle "Shoot-Out at the T Bar M"] ] King won the title in Richmond; however, one week later, King lost in the semifinals of the tournament in San Juan. This was followed in successive weeks by a loss in the Jacksonville final to Marie Neumannova Pinterovaand in a St. Petersburg semifinal to Evert (6–2, 6–3).
King did not lose again until mid-August, winning six consecutive tournaments. She won the tournaments in Tucson and
Indianapolis. King then won the French Openwithout losing a set and completed a career Grand Slam. She defeated Virginia Wadein the quarterfinals, Helga Niessen Masthoffin the semifinals, and Goolagong Cawley in the final. [After winning the French Openin 1972, King stayed away from the tournament for seven consecutive years and, in fact, played the tournament only twice more during her career, in 1980 and 1982.] On grass, King then won the Wimbledon warm-up tournaments in Nottinghamand Bristoland won Wimbledon itself for the fourth time. She lost only one set during the tournament, to Wade in the quarterfinals. That was followed by straight set wins over Rosemary Casalsand Goolagong Cawley. When the tour returned to the United States, King did not win any of the three tournaments she played before the US Open, including a straight sets loss to Margaret Smith Courtin Newport. At the US Open, however, King won the tournament without losing a set, including a quarterfinal win over Wade, a semifinal defeat of Court, and a final win over Kerry Melville Reid. King finished the year by winning the tournaments in Charlotte and Phoenix (defeating Court in the final of both), a runner-up finish in Oakland(losing to Court), and a semifinal finish in Boca Raton (losing to Evert).
1973 was Margaret Smith Court's turn to win three Grand Slam singles titles, failing to win only Wimbledon, and was the clear World No. 1 for the year. As during the previous year, King started 1973 inconsistently. She missed the first three Virginia Slims tournaments in January because of a wrist injury. ["King bows in, on courts," Daily Review,
Hayward, California, February 8, 1973, page 30] She then lost in the third round at the Virginia Slims of Miamitournament but won the Virginia Slims of Indianapolistournament, defeating Court in the semifinals 6–7, 7–6, 6–3 and Rosemary Casalsin the final. The semifinal victory ended Court's 12-tournament and 59-match winning streaks, ["'Sweetie' upset for Billie Jean," Oakland Tribune, February 26, 1973, page E27] with King saving at least three match points when down 5–4 (40–0) in the second set. Indianapolis was followed by five tournaments that King failed to win ( Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, and the inaugural Family Circle Cupin Hilton Head, South Carolina). King lost to Court in two of those tournaments. After deciding not to defend her French Opensingles title, King won four consecutive tournaments, including her fifth Wimbledon singles title when she defeated Kerry Melville Reidin the quarterfinals, Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the semifinals on her eighth match point, ["Evert Shatters Court, Sets Up American Finals," Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, July 5, 1973, page 2-C] and Chris Evertin the final. King lost only nine points in the 6–0 bageling of Evert in the first set of their final. [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1087561/index.htm A Bloomin' Winner] ] In none of the preceding tournaments, however, did King play Court. Their rivalry resumed in the final of the Virginia Slims of Nashvilletournament, where Court won for the third time in four matches against King in 1973. (This was the last ever singles match between those players, with Court winning 21 and King 13 of their 34 matches.) Three weeks later at the US Open, King retired from her fourth round match with Julie Heldmanwhile ill [cite book |author=Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean |title=We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis |publisher=McGraw-Hill |location=New York |year=1988 |pages=144 |isbn=0-07-034625-9 |oclc= |doi=] and suffering from the oppressive heat and humidity. When Heldman complained to the match umpire that King was taking too long between games, King reportedly said to Heldman, "If you want the match that badly, you can have it!" [cite book |author=Hollander, Zander; Collins, Bud |title=Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis |publisher=Visible Ink Press |location=Detroit, MI |year=1994 |pages=196 |isbn=081039443X |oclc= |doi=] The Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggswas held in the middle of the Virginia Slims of Houstontournament. King won her first and second round matches three days before playing Riggs, defeated Riggs, won her quarterfinal match the day after the Riggs match, and then lost the following day to Casals in the semifinals 7–6, 6–1. According to King, "I had nothing left to give." [cite book |author=Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean |title=We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis |publisher=McGraw-Hill |location=New York |year=1988 |pages=145 |isbn=0-07-034625-9 |oclc= |doi=] To end the year, King won tournaments in Phoenix, Hawaii, and Tokyoand was the runner-up in Baltimore.
The Battle of the Sexes
Despite King's achievements at the world's biggest tennis tournaments, the U.S. public best remembers King for her win over
Bobby Riggsin 1973.
Riggs had been a top men's player in the 1930s and 1940s in both the amateur and professional ranks. He won the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1939, and was considered the World No. 1 male tennis player for 1941, 1946, and 1947. He then became a self-described tennis "hustler" who played in promotional challenge matches. In 1973, he took on the role of male
chauvinist. Claiming that the women's game was so inferior to the men's game that even a 55-year-old like himself could beat the current top female players, he challenged and defeated Margaret Smith Court6–2, 6–1. King, who previously had rejected challenges from Riggs, then accepted a lucrative financial offer to play him.
Dubbed the Battle of the Sexes, the Riggs-King match was played at the
Houston Astrodomein Texason September 20, 1973. The match garnered huge publicity. In front of 30,492 spectators and a worldwide television audience estimated at 50 million people in 37 countries, King beat Riggs 6–4, 6–3, 6–3. The match is considered a very significant event in developing greater recognition and respect for women's tennis. King said, "I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn't win that match. It would ruin the women's [tennis] tour and affect all women's self-esteem." [cite web |url=http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016060.html |title=Billie Jean won for all women |accessdate=2007-02-15]
In recent years, a persistent
urban legendhas arisen, particularly on the Internet, that the rules of tennis were modified for the match so that Riggs had only one serve for King's two and that King was allowed to hit into the doubles court area. This is untrue because the match was played under the normal rules of tennis.
King won five of the first seven tournaments she contested in 1974. She won the Virginia Slims of
San Francisco, defeating Nancy Richey Gunterin the semifinals and Chris Evertin the final. The following week in Indian Wells, California, King again defeated Gunter in the semifinals but lost to Evert in the final. King then won tournaments in Fairfax, Virginiaand Detroitbefore losing a semifinal match to Virginia Wadein Chicago. King won both tournaments she played in March, defeating Gunter in the Akron, Ohiofinal and Evert at the U.S. Indoor Championships final. Olga Morozovathen upset King in her next two tournaments, at Philadelphiain the final and at Wimbledon in a quarterfinal 7–5, 6–2. Afterword, King did not play a tour match until the US Open, where she won her fourth singles title and third in the last four years. She defeated Rosemary Casalsin a straight sets quarterfinal, avenged in the semifinals her previous year's loss to Julie Heldman, and narrowly defeated Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the final. King did not reach a tournament final during the remainder of the year, losing to Heldman in an Orlando semifinal, Wade in a Phoenix semifinal, and Goolagong Cawley in a semifinal of the tour-ending Virginia Slims Championships in Los Angeles.
In 1975, King played singles only half the year, as she retired (temporarily, as it turned out) from tournament singles competition immediately after winning her sixth Wimbledon singles title.
She began the year in
San Francisco, defeating Francoise Durrand Virginia Wadebefore losing to Chris Evertin the final. The following week, King won the Sarasota, Floridatournament, defeating Evert in the final 6–3, 6–2. Evert said immediately after the final, which was her thirteenth career match with King, "I think that's the best that Billie Jean has ever played. I hit some great shots but they just kept coming back at me." ["Billie Jean Dumps Evert at Sarasota," The Daily Times-News, Burlington, North Carolina, January 20, 1975, page 5B] Looking back at that match, King said, "I probably played so well because I had to, for the money. Out of frustration comes creativity. Right?" [ [http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089860/6/index.htm Mrs. Billie Jean King!] ] Two months later, Wade defeated King in the semifinals of the Philadelphiatournament. At the Austin, Texastournament in April, King defeated Evonne Goolagong Cawley6–1, 6–3 before losing to Evert in the final. As King was serving for the match at 6–5 in the third set, a disputed line call went in Evert's favor. King said after the match that she was cheated out of the match and that she had never been angrier about a match. ["Cool Chris Edges Angry Billie Jean," Star-News, Pasadena, California, April 21, 1975, page B-2]
King played only one of the Wimbledon warm-up tournaments, defeating
Olga Morozovain the Eastbourne semifinals before losing to Wade in the final. Seeded third at Wimbledon, King defeated seventh seeded Morozova in the quarterfinals (6–3, 6–3) and then top seeded Evert in the semifinals (2–6, 6–2, 6–3) after being down 3–0 (40–15) in the final set. [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=95 |isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] Evert blamed her semifinal defeat on a loss of concentration when she saw Jimmy Connors, her former fiance, escorting Susan George into Centre Court. King, however, believes that the match turned around because King planned for and totally prepared for Wimbledon that year and told herself when she was on the verge of defeat, "Hey, Billie Jean, this is ridiculous. You paid the price. For once, you looked ahead. You're supposed to win. Get your bahoola in gear." [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages=95 |isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] King then defeated fourth seeded Goolagong Cawley in the second most lopsided women's final ever at Wimbledon (6–0, 6–1). King called her performance a "near perfect match" and said to the news media, "I'm never coming back." [cite book |author=Lannin, Joanne |title=Billie Jean King: Tennis Trailblazer |publisher=Lerner Publications Co |location=Minneapolis |year=1999 |pages=99 |isbn=0-8225-4959-X |oclc= |doi=]
The later years: 1976 through 1990
Except for five Federation Cup singles matches that she won in straight sets in August, King played only in doubles and mixed doubles events from January through September. She partnered
Phil Dentto the mixed doubles title at the US Open. She lost to Dianne Fromholtz Balestratin both of the singles tournaments she played the remainder of the year. Looking back, King said, "I wasted 1976. After watching Chris Evertand [Evonne Goolagong Cawley|Evonne [Goolagong] Cawley] play the final at Wimbledon I asked myself what I was doing. So, despite my age and the operations, the Old Lady came back...." [cite book |author=Brace, Reginald; King, Billie Jean |title=Play Better Tennis: With Billie Jean King and Reginald Brace |publisher=Octopus |location= |year=1981 |pages=16 |isbn= 0706412230 |oclc= |doi=] King had knee surgery for the third time on November 9, ["Bille Jean Undergoes Knee Surgery," Tyrone (Pennsylvania) Daily Herald, November 10, 1976, page 12] this time on her right knee, ["King Will Resume Singles Competition," The Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1977, page 14] and did not play the remainder of the year.
King spent the first three months of the year rehabilitating her right knee after surgery in November 1976. ["King to Command McFarlin Spotlight," San Antonio Light,
March 21, 1977, page 1-B]
In March 1977, King requested that the
Women's Tennis Association(WTA) exercise its right to grand a wild card entry to King for the eight-player Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Gardenin New York City. Margaret Court, who finished in sixth place on the Virginia Slims points list, failed to qualify for the tournament because she did not play enough Virginia Slims tournaments leading up to the championships. This left a spot open in the draw, which the WTA filled with Mima Jausovec. King then decided to play the Lionel Cup tournament in San Antonio, Texas, which the WTA harshly criticized because tournament officials there had allowed transexual Renee Richardsto enter. ["Billie Jean King returns to tennis action," The Independent Record, Helena, Montana, March 23, 1977, page 10.] Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Betty Stove(president of the WTA) criticized King's decision because of Richards's unresolved and highly controversial status on the women's tennis tour. Evert said she was disappointed with King and that until Richards's status was resolved, "all of the women should stick together." Navratilova said, "Billie Jean is a bad girl pouting. She made a bad decision. She's mad because she could not get what she wanted." Stove said that if King had wanted the competition, " [T] here are plenty of men around here she could've played with. She didn't have to choose a 'disputed' tournament." ["Gals Coninue to Snap at King," San Antonio Light, March 25, 1977, page 4-E] The draw in San Antonio called for King to play Richards in the semifinals had form held; however, Richards lost in the quarterfinals. King eventually won the tournament.
clay court Family Circle Cupin late March, King played for the last time her long-time rival Nancy Richey Gunterin the first round. King won 0–6, 7–6, 6–2. She defeated another clay court specialist, Virginia Ruzici, in the second round before winning only one game from Evert in the final.
At Wimbledon in the second round, King played
Maria Buenofor the last time, with King winning 6–2, 7–5. In the quarterfinals, Evert defeated King for the first time at a Grand Slam singles tournament and for the first time on grass 6–1, 6–2 in just 46 minutes. Evert said it was the best match she had ever played on grass up to that point in her career, ["Evert Thrashes Former Queen, King With 6–1, 6–2 Win at Wimbledon," Galveston (Texas) News, June 28, 1977, page B1] and King said, "She just played beautiful tennis. I don't think many players would've beaten her today." ["Evert Drops King in Quarter-Finals," Wisconsin State Journal, June 28, 1977, page 1, section 2] King also said after the match, "Maybe I can be happy being number eight instead of number one. At this stage, just playing, that's winning enough for me." [cite book |author=Lannin, Joanne |title=Billie Jean King: Tennis Trailblazer |publisher=Lerner Publications Co |location=Minneapolis |year=1999 |pages=101 |isbn=0-8225-4959-X |oclc= |doi=] But when asked about retirement, King said, "Retire? Quit tournament tennis? You gotta be kidding. It just means I've got a lot more work. I've got to make myself match tough ... mentally as well as physically. I gotta go out and kill myself for the next six months. It's a long, arduous process. I will suffer. But I will be back." ["Tennis' Joe Frazier," Idaho State Journal, Pocatello, Idaho, June 28, 1977, page A6]
Evert repeated her Wimbledon quarterfinal victory over King at the clay court US Open, winning 6–2, 6–0. This loss prompted King to say, "I better get it together by October or November or that's it. I'll have to make some big decisions. I'm not 20-years-old and I can't just go out and change my game. It's only the last four weeks I haven't been in [knee] pain. [But if] I keep using that as a copout, I shouldn't play." ["Comeback Soon Over for King?," The News Tribune,
Fort Pierce, Florida, September 8, 1977, page 10]
The remainder of the year, King's win-loss record was 31–3, losing only to Evert,
Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat, and Michelle Tyler. King won five of the eight tournaments she entered plus both of her Wightman Cupmatches. She defeated Navratilova all four times they played, including three times in three consecutive weeks, and beat Wimbledon champion Virginia Wadetwice. Beginning September 26, King played seven consecutive weeks. She lost to Tyler in the second round in Palm Harbor, Floridaand Fromholtz Balestrat in the semifinals in Atlanta. She then won three hard courttournaments in three consecutive weeks. She defeated Navratilova and Wendy Turnbullto win in Phoenix, losing only four points to Turnbull in the third set of the final. ["King Wins 1st Major Tourney in 2 Years," Raleigh Register, Beckley, West Virginia, October 17, 1977, page 8] The next week, she defeated Navratilova, Fromholtz Balestrat, and Wimbledon runner-up Stove to win in Sao Paulo. The third week, she defeated Ruzici, Stove, and Janet Newberryto win in San Juan. In November, Evert snapped King's 18-match winning streak in the final of the Colgate Series Championships in Mission Hills, California. King then won her Wightman Cup matches, defeated Navratilova to win the tournament in Japan, and beat Wade to win the Bremar Cup in London. King said, "I have never had a run like this, even in the years when I was Wimbledon champion. At 34 I feel fitter than when I was 24." ["King, Wade London Finalists," Star-News, Pasadena, California, December 11, 1977, page D-7]
King played 10 singles tournaments during the first half of 1978, limiting herself to doubles after Wimbledon.
To start the year, King was the runner-up in Houston and Kansas City (losing to
Martina Navratilovain both) and in Philadelphia(losing to Chris Evert). At the Virginia Slims Championships, King lost her first round robin match to Virginia Wadeand defaulted her two remaining round robin matches because of a leg injury sustained during the first match.
At Wimbledon, King played with a painful heel spur in her left foot and lost to Evert in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year 6–3, 3–6, 6–2. The match was on-serve in the third set with King serving at 2–3 (40–0) before Evert won five consecutive points to break serve. King won a total of only two points during the last two games. King said after the match, "I don't think my mobility is very good and that's what I need to beat her. Physically, she [Evert] tears your guts apart unless you can stay with her. I'm really disappointed. I really wanted to play well. I just couldn't cut it because of my heel." ["Evert Enters Grudge Match With Wade," Galveston (Texas) Daily News,
July 5, 1978, page 1-B]
King teamed with Navratilova to win the women's doubles title at the US Open, King's fourth women's doubles title at that tournament and 14th Grand Slam women's doubles title overall. To end the year, King was undefeated in five doubles matches (four with Evert and one with
Rosemary Casals) as the U.S. won the Federation Cup in Melbourne. During the Federation Cup competition, King hinted at retirement from future major singles competitions and said that she was "sick and tired of continued surgery" in trying to get fit enough for those events. ["U.S. wins Federation Cup opener," European Stars and Stripes, November 29, 1978, page 28] Nevertheless, King had foot surgery on December 22in an attempt to regain mobility for a return to the tennis tour. ["Surgery for King," The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pennsylvania, December 22, 1978, page 9]
During the first half of 1979, King played only one event - doubles in the Federation Cup tie against Spain - because of major surgery to her left foot during December 1978.
King returned to singles competition at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in
Chichester. She defeated the defending Wimbledon champion, Martina Navratilova, in a 48-minute quarterfinal 6–1, 6–2 ["Sports Shorts," The Capital, Annapolis, Maryland, June 16, 1979, page 25] before losing to Evonne Goolagong Cawleyin the semifinals 1–6, 6–4, 10–8. Seeded seventh at Wimbledon, King defeated Hana Mandlikovain the fourth round before losing the last six games [Citation|last=Radosta| first=John S.|author-link=John S. Radosta|title=Tracy Austin Ousts Mrs. King, 6–4, 6–7, 6–2|newspaper=The New York Times|date= July 3, 1979|year=1979|month=July] of the quarterfinal match with fourth-seeded Tracy Austin6–4, 6–7(5), 6–2. King partnered with Navratilova at Wimbledon to win King's 20th and final Wimbledon title, breaking Elizabeth Ryan's longstanding record of 19 Wimbledon titles just one day after Ryan collapsed and died at Wimbledon. ["Ryan dies at Wimbledon," The News, Frederick, Maryland, July 7, 1979, page D-2]
At the US Open, the ninth-seeded King reached the quarterfinals without dropping a set, where she upset the fourth-seeded
Virginia Wade6–3, 7–6(4). Next up was a semifinal match with the four-time defending champion and top-seeded Chris Evert; however, with King hampered by a neck injury sustained during a bear hug with a friend the day before the match, Evert won 6–1, 6–0, including the last eleven games and 48 of the last 63 points.Citation|last=Amdur| first=Neil|author-link=Neil Amdur|title=Injured Mrs. King Is Routed By Mrs. Lloyd in Semifinals|newspaper=The New York Times|date= September 8, 1979|year=1979|month=September] This was Evert's eighth consecutive win over King, with Evert during those matches losing only one set and 31 games and winning four 6–0 sets. Evert said after the match, "Psychologically, I feel very confident when I ... play her."
The following week in
Tokyo, King won her first singles title in almost two years, defeating Goolagong Cawley in the final. In November in Stockholm, King defeated Betty Stovein the final after Stove lost her concentration while serving for the match at 5–4 in the third set. [cite book |author=Brace, Reginald; King, Billie Jean |title=Play Better Tennis: With Billie Jean King and Reginald Brace |publisher=Octopus |location= |year=1981 |pages=46 |isbn= 0706412230 |oclc= |doi=] Three weeks later in Brighton, King lost a semifinal match with Navratilova 7–5, 0–6, 7–6(3) after King led 6–5 in the third set. [Citation|title=Navratilova-Lloyd Final|newspaper=The New York Times|date= November 25, 1979|year=1979|month=November] She ended the year with a quarterfinal loss in Melbourne (not the Australian Open), a second round loss in Sydney, and a three-set semifinal loss to Austin in Tokyo.
King won the tournament in
Houstonthat began in late February, snapping Martina Navratilova's 28-match winning streak in the straight-sets final. ["Martina and Billie advance," Daily Press, Escanaba, Michigan, March 20, 1980, page 3-B]
At the winter series-ending Avon Championships in March, King defeated
Virginia Wadein her first round robin match 6–1, 6–3. After Wade held serve at love to open the match, King won nine consecutive games and lost only nine points during those games. ["Martina and Billie advance," Daily Press, Escanaba, Michigan, March 20, 1980, page 3-B] King then lost her second round robin match to Navratilova and defeated Wendy Turnbullin an elimination round match, before losing to Tracy Austinin the semifinals 6–3, 6–1.
King played the
French Openfor the first time since she won the event in 1972 and completed a career singles Grand Slam. She was seeded second but lost in the quarterfinals to fifth-seeded Dianne Fromholtz Balestratof Australia6–1, 6–4.
At Wimbledon, King defeated
Pam Shriverin a two hour, forty minute fourth round match 5–7, 7–6, 10–8 after King saved a match point in the second set and recovered from a 4–2 (40–0) deficit in the third set with Shriver serving. ["This Is a Wimbly to Remember for Veteran King," Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, July 1, 1980, page 1-C] In a quarterfinal that took two days to complete, King lost to two-time defending champion and top-seeded Navratilova 7–6, 1–6, 10–8. The beginning of the match was delayed until late afternoon because of rain. Because she wore eyeglasses, King agreed to start the match then on condition that tournament officials immediately suspend the match if the rain resumed. During the first set, drizzle began to fall; however, the chair umpire refused to suspend the match. King led in the tiebreaker 5–1 before Navratilova came back to win the set, whereupon the umpire then agreed to the suspension. When the match resumed the next day, King won 20 of the first 23 points to take a 5–0 lead in the second set and lost a total of seven points while winning the set in just 17 minutes. In the third set, Navratilova broke serve to take a 2–0 lead before King broke back twice and eventually served for the match at 6–5. King then hit four volley errors, enabling Navratilova to break serve at love and even the match. King saved three match points while serving at 6–7 and three more match points while serving at 7–8. During the change-over between games at 8–9, King's eyeglasses broke for the first time in her career. She had a spare pair, but they did not feel the same. King saved two match points before Navratilova broke serve to win the match. King said, "I think that may be the single match in my career that I could have won if I hadn't had bad eyes." [cite book |author=Deford, Frank; King, Billie Jean |title=Billie Jean |publisher=Viking |location=New York, N.Y |year=1982 |pages= 82|isbn=0-670-47843-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=] ["Navratilova downs veteran King," The Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1980, page 21] ["Martina Edges King; Borg, Connors Win," Syracuse (New York) Herald-Journal, July 2, 1980, page C-1]
King teamed with Navratilova to win King's 39th and final Grand Slam title at the US Open. Navratilova then decided she wanted a new doubles partner and started playing with Shriver but refused to discuss the change directly with King. She finally confronted Navratilova during the spring of 1981, reportedly saying to her, "Tell me I'm too old ... but tell me something." Navratilova refused to talk about it. [cite book |author=Lannin, Joanne |title=Billie Jean King: Tennis Trailblazer |publisher=Lerner Publications Co |location=Minneapolis |year=1999 |pages=103 |isbn=0-8225-4959-X |oclc= |doi=]
King had minor knee surgery on
November 14in San Franciscoto remove adhesions and cartilage. ["Surgery for King," The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pennsylvania, November 15, 1980, page 6]
In 1982, King was 38 years old and the twelfth-seed at Wimbledon. In her third round match with
Tanya Harfordof South Africa, King was down 7–5, 5–4 (40–0) before saving three match points [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,925571-2,00.html Wimbledon Under the Weather] ] to win the second set 7–6(2) and then the third set 6–3. King said in her post-match press conference, "I can't recall the previous time I have been so close to defeat and won. When I was down 4–5 and love-40, I told myself, 'You have been here 21 years, so use that experience and hang on.'" [Associated Press, June 27, 1982] In the fourth round, King upset sixth-seeded Australian Wendy Turnbullin straight sets. King then upset third-seeded Tracy Austinin the quarterfinals 3–6, 6–4, 6–2 to became the oldest female semifinalist at Wimbledon since Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers in 1920. This was King's first career victory over Austin after five defeats and reversed the result of their 1979 Wimbledon quarterfinal. King said in her post-match press conference, "Today, I looked at the scoreboard when I was 2–0 in the third set and the '2' seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. In 1979, when I was up 2–0 at the same stage, I was tired and didn't have anything left. But today I felt so much better and was great mentally." [Associated Press, July 1, 1982] Two days later in the semifinals, which was King's 250th career match at Wimbledon in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles, [Knight-Ridder Wire, July 3, 1982] the second-seeded Chris Evertdefeated King on her fifth match point 7–6(4), 2–6, 6–3. King was down a set and 2–1 in the second set before winning five consecutive games to even the match. [Associated Press, July 3, 1982] King explained that she actually lost the match in the first set by failing to convert break points at 15–40 in the second and fourth games. ["Dallas Morning News," "Lloyd spoils King's hopes," July 3, 1982, pages 1B, 9B; "Dallas Times Herald," "Evert stops King rally in Wimbledon replay," July 3, 1982, page B-7]
King retired from competitive play in singles at the end of 1983.
She reached the semifinals in her final appearance at Wimbledon, losing to
Andrea Jaeger6–1, 6–1 after beating Kathy Jordanin the quarterfinals, seventh-seeded Wendy Turnbullin the fourth round, and Rosemary Casals, her longtime doubles partner, in the third round. Jaeger claims that she was highly motivated to defeat King because King had defeated Turnbull, a favorite of Jaeger's, and because King refused a towel from an attendant just before her match with Jaeger, explaining, "I'm not going to sweat in this match." [ [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=560743&in_page_id=1879 Why I became a nun, by former tennis star Andrea Jaeger] ]
The final official singles match of King's career was a second round 7–6, 4–6, 6–4 loss to
Catherine Tanvierat the 1983 Australian Open.
King played doubles sporadically from 1984 through 1990. She retired from competitive play in doubles in March 1990. In her last competitive doubles match, King and her partner,
Jennifer Capriati, lost a second round match to Brenda Schultz-McCarthyand Andrea Temesvari6–3, 6–2 at the Virginia Slimsof Florida tournament.
Furthering the tennis profession
In 1967, King criticized the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in a series of press conferences, denouncing what she called the USLTA's practice of "shamateurism," where top players were paid under the table to guarantee their entry into tournaments. King argued that this was corrupt and kept the game highly elitist. King quickly became a significant force in the opening of tennis to professionalism. King said this about the amateur game,
When the open era began, King campaigned for equal prize money in the men's and women's games. As the financial backing of the women's game improved due to the efforts of "World Tennis" magazine founder, publisher and editor Gladys M. Heldman, King became the first woman athlete to earn over US$100,000 in prize money in 1971; [ [http://www.billiejeanking.com/fact.aspx BJK Firsts and Facts] ] however, inequalities continued. King won the US Open in 1972 but received US$15,000 less than the men's champion
Ilie Năstase. She stated that she would not play the next year if the prize money were not equal. In 1973, the US Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money for men and women.
King led player efforts to support the first professional women's tennis tour in the 1970s called the
Virginia Slims, founded by Heldman and funded by Joseph Cullman of Philip Morris. [ [http://www.budcollinstennis.com/buds-notes/notes-gladysh03.html Bud Collins on Gladys Heldman] ] Once the tour took flight, King worked tirelessly to promote it even though many of the other top players were not supportive. "For three years we had two tours and because of their governments [Martina Navratilova| [Martina] Navratilova] and Olga Morozovahad to play the other tour. [Chris Evert|Chris [Evert] , [Margaret Court|Margaret [Court] , [Virginia Wade|Virginia [Wade] , they let us do the pioneering work and they weren't very nice to us. If you go back and look at the old quotes; they played for the love of the game, we played for the money. When we got backing and money, we were all playing together – I wonder why? I tried not to get upset with them. Forgiveness is important. Our job was to have one voice and win them over."
In 1973, King became the first president of the women's players union – the
Women's Tennis Association. In 1974, she, with husband Larry King and Jim Jorgensen, founded "womenSports" magazine and started the Women's Sports Foundation. [ [http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/cgi-bin/iowa/about/article.html?record=86 Billie Jean King: Founder, Leader, Legend] ] Also in 1974, King helped to found World TeamTennis. [ [http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=64 Billie Jean King co-founder] ] She became league commissioner in 1982.
King is a member of the Board of Honorary Trustees for the
Sports Museum of America, [ [http://www.thesportsmuseum.com/about_board.html Board of Honorary Trustees] ] which opened in 2008. The museum is the home of the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center, a comprehensive women's sports hall of fame and exhibit. [ [http://www.thesportsmuseum.com/experience_bjk.html The Billie Jean King Intl Women's Sports Center] ]
Coach of national teams
In the mid-1990s, King became the captain of the United States
Fed Cupteam and coach of its women's Olympic tennis squad. She guided the U.S. to the Fed Cup championship in 1996 and helped Lindsay Davenport, Gigi Fernandez, and Mary Joe Fernandezcapture Olympic gold medals.
In 2002, King dismissed Capriati from the Fed Cup team, saying Capriati had violated rules that forbade bringing along and practicing with personal coaches. Opinion was sharply divided, with many supporting King's decision but many feeling the punishment was too harsh, especially in hindsight when
Monica Selesand Lisa Raymondwere defeated by lower-ranked Austrians Barbara Schettand Barbara Schwartz. The following year, Zina Garrison Jacksonsucceeded King as Fed Cup captain.
Year end singles rankings
Grand Slam tournament timelines
A = did not participate in the tournament
SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played
NH = event not held
Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
Grand Slam singles records
King's overall win-loss record at Wimbledon was 96–15 .865 in 21 years (1961–1975, 1977–1980, 1982–1983). (Her win total includes one walkover but does not include any first round byes.)
King was 6–3 in finals, 9–5 in semifinals, and 14–6 in quarterfinals. King failed to reach the quarterfinals only once, in 1961 during her first Wimbledon. After receiving a bye during the first round, King lost to the fifth seed,
Yola Ramirez Ochoa, in the second round.
King was 23–7 in three set matches, 73–8 in two set matches, and 5–1 in deuce third sets, i.e., sets that were tied 5–5 before being resolved.
King was seeded 18 times out of 21 years. (Wimbledon seeded 8 players from at least 1961 through 1976, 12 players in 1977, and 16 players from 1978 through the end of King's career.)
*Seeded #1 in 1974 (quarterfinalist), 1968 (champion), 1967 (champion).
*Seeded #2 in 1973 (champion), 1972 (champion), 1971 (semifinalist), 1970 (losing finalist), 1969 (losing finalist).
*Seeded #3 in 1975 (champion) and 1964 (semifinalist).
*Seeded #4 in 1966 (champion).
*Seeded #5 in 1980 (quarterfinalist), 1978 (quarterfinalist), 1977 (quarterfinalist), 1965 (semifinalist).
*Seeded #7 in 1979 (quarterfinalist).
*Seeded #10 in 1983 (semifinalist).
*Seeded #12 in 1982 (semifinalist).
*Unseeded in 1963 (losing finalist), 1962 (quarterfinalist), 1961 (lost second round).
King was 31–15 .674 against seeded players. She never lost to an unseeded player (65–0). Her worst loss was to #8 seed
Olga Morozovain 1974.
*Versus #1 seeds, King was 4–7 (wins:
Chris Evert(1975), Evonne Goolagong Cawley(1972), Margaret Smith Court(1966, 1962); losses: Martina Navratilova(1980), Chris Evert (1978, 1977), Margaret Smith Court (1970, 1964, 1963), Maria Bueno(1965)).
*Versus #2 seeds, King was 2–1 (wins: Maria Bueno (1966),
Lesley Turner Bowrey(1963); loss: Chris Evert (1982)).
*Versus #3 seeds, King was 6–2 (wins:
Tracy Austin(1982), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1973), Virginia Wade (1970), Ann Haydon Jones(1967, 1963), Lesley Turner Bowrey (1965); losses: Andrea Jaeger(1983), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971)).
*Versus #4 seeds, King was 3–2 (wins: Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1975), Chris Evert (1973), Ann Haydon Jones (1968); losses: Tracy Austin (1979), Ann Haydon Jones (1969)).
*Versus #5 seeds, King was 0–2 (Ann Haydon Jones (1962), Yola Ramirez Ochoa (1961)).
*Versus #6 seeds, King was 4–0 (
Wendy Turnbull(1982), Rosemary Casals(1972), Annette Van Zyl DuPlooy (1966), Ann Haydon Jones (1964)).
*Versus #7 seeds, King was 8–0 (Wendy Turnbull (1983),
Olga Morozova(1975), Kerry Melville Reid(1973), Virginia Wade (1972), Francoise Durr(1971), Karen Krantzcke(1970), Judy Tegart Dalton(1968), Maria Bueno (1963)).
*Versus #8 seeds, King was 3–1 (wins: Judy Tegart Dalton (1969), Lesley Turner Bowrey (1968), Virginia Wade (1967); loss: Olga Morozova (1974)).
*Versus #14 seeds, King was 1–0 (
Against her major rivals at Wimbledon, King was 4–2 versus Ann Haydon Jones, 3–0 versus Rosemary Casals, 3–0 versus Virginia Wade, 3–0 versus Francoise Durr, 3–1 versus Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 3–1 versus Maria Bueno, 2–3 versus Margaret Smith Court, 2–3 versus Chris Evert, 1–0 versus Christine Truman Janes, 1–0 versus
Hana Mandlikova, 1–1 versus Olga Morozova, 1–1 versus Tracy Austin, and 0–1 versus Martina Navratilova.
United States Championships/Open
King's overall win-loss record at the United States Championships/Open was 63–14 .818 in 18 years (1959–1969, 1971–1974, 1977, 1979, 1982). She was 55–11 on grass, 5–2 on hard courts, and 3–1 on clay. (Her win total does not include any first round byes. Her loss total includes two retirements.)
King was 4–2 in finals, 6–1 in semifinals, and 7–3 in quarterfinals.
King was 8–4 in three set matches, 55–10 in two set matches, and 4–1 in deuce third sets, i.e., sets that were tied 5–5 before being resolved.
King was seeded 14 times out of the 18 years she entered the tournament.
*Seeded #1 in 1973 (lost third round), 1972 (champion), 1971 (champion), 1968 (losing finalist), 1967 (champion).
*Seeded #2 in 1974 (champion), 1966 (lost second round).
*Seeded #3 in 1969 (quarterfinalist), 1964 (quarterfinalist), 1963 (lost fourth round).
*Seeded #5 in 1965 (losing finalist).
*Seeded #7 in 1977 (quarterfinalist).
*Seeded #9 in 1979 (semifinalist).
*Seeded #12 in 1982 (lost first round).
*Unseeded in 1962 (lost first round), 1961 (lost second round), 1960 (lost third round), 1959 (lost first round).
King was 12–8 .600 against seeded players and 51–6 .895 against unseeded players.
*Versus #1 seeds, King was 0–3 (
Chris Evert(1979 and 1977), Margaret Smith Court(1965)).
*Versus #2 seeds, King was 3–0 (
Rosemary Casals(1971), Ann Haydon Jones(1967), Maria Bueno1965).
*Versus #3 seeds, King was 1–0 (Ann Haydon Jones (1965)).
*Versus #4 seeds, King was 1–1 (win:
Virginia Wade(1979); loss: Christine Truman Janes (1961)).
*Versus #5 seeds, King was 3–1 (wins:
Evonne Goolagong Cawley(1974), Margaret Smith Court (1972), Maria Bueno (1968); loss: Nancy Richey Gunter(1964)).
*Versus #6 seeds, King was 1–2 (win: Rosemary Casals (1974); losses: Nancy Richey Gunter (1969), Virginia Wade (1968)).
*Versus #7 seeds, King was 0–1 (
Bernice Carr Vukovich(1960)).
*Versus #8 seeds, King was 1–0 (Virginia Wade (1972)).
*Versus #9 seeds, King was 2–0 (
Kerry Melville Reid(1977 and 1972)).
Against her major rivals at the United States Championships/Open, King was 3–1 versus Virginia Wade, 2–0 versus Maria Bueno, 2–0 versus Ann Haydon Jones, 2–0 versus Rosemary Casals, 1–0 versus Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 1–0 versus
Francoise Durr, 1–1 versus Margaret Smith Court, 1–2 versus Chris Evert, 0–1 versus Christine Truman Janes, and 0–2 versus Nancy Richey Gunter.
King's overall win-loss record at the French Championships/Open was 22–6 .786 in 7 years (1967–1970, 1972, 1980, 1982). (Her win total does not include any first round byes but does include one walkover.)
King was 1–0 in finals, 1–1 in semifinals, and 2–4 in quarterfinals. She failed to reach the quarterfinals only once, in 1982 when she lost to
Lucia Romanovin the third round.
King was 3–3 in three set matches, 19–3 in two set matches, and 1–0 in deuce third sets, i.e., sets that were tied 5–5 before being resolved.
King was seeded all 7 years she entered the tournament.
*Seeded #1 in 1968 (semifinalist), 1967 (quarterfinalist).
*Seeded #2 in 1980 (quarterfinalist), 1970 (quarterfinalist), 1969 (quarterfinalist).
*Seeded #3 in 1972 (champion).
*Seeded #10 in 1982 (lost third round).
King was 5–3 .625 against seeded players and 17–3 .850 against unseeded players.
*Versus #1 seeds, King was 1–0 (
Evonne Goolagong Cawley(1972)).
*Versus #5 seeds, King was 0–2 (
Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat(1980), Nancy Richey Gunter(1968)).
*Versus #6 seeds, King was 1–0 (
*Versus #7 seeds, King was 1–1 (win:
Helga Niessen Masthoff(1972); loss: Helga Niessen Masthoff (1970)).
*Versus #8 seeds, King was 1–0 (
*Versus #16 seeds, King was 1–0 (Gail Sheriff Chanfreau Lovera (1967)).
Against her major rivals at the French Championships/Open, King was 1–0 versus Virginia Wade, 1–0 versus Maria Bueno, 1–0 versus Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 1–1 versus Helga Niessen Masthoff, 0–1 versus
Lesley Turner Bowrey, and 0–1 versus Nancy Richey Gunter.
King's overall win-loss record at the Australian Championships/Open was 16–4 .800 in 5 years (1965, 1968, 1969, 1982, 1983). (Her win total does not include any first round byes.)
King was 1–1 in finals, 2–1 in semifinals, and 3–1 in quarterfinals.
King was 5–1 in three set matches, 11–3 in two set matches, and 1–0 in deuce third sets, i.e., sets that were tied 5–5 before being resolved.
King was seeded all 5 years she entered the tournament.
*Seeded #1 overall in 1969 (losing finalist), 1968 (champion).
*Seeded #2 foreign in 1965 (semifinalist).
*Seeded #7 overall in 1983 (lost 2nd round).
*Seeded #9 overall in 1982 (quarterfinalist).
King was 6–3 .667 against seeded players and 10–1 .909 against unseeded players.
*Versus #1 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 0–1 (
Margaret Smith Court(1965)).
*Versus #2 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 0–2 (
Chris Evert1982, Margaret Smith Court (1969)).
*Versus #3 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 2–0 (
Ann Haydon Jones(1969), Judy Tegart Dalton(1968)).
*Versus #4 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 1–0 (
*Versus #6 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 1–0 (
*Versus #7 seeds (domestic, foreign, or overall), King was 2–0 (
Barbara Potter(1982), Margaret Smith Court (1968)).
Against her major rivals at the Australian Championships/Open, King was 1–0 versus
Kerry Melville Reid, 1–0 versus Judy Tegart Dalton, 1–0 versus Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 1–0 versus Ann Haydon Jones, 1–2 versus Margaret Smith Court, and 0–1 versus Chris Evert.
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=108 TennisForum Blast from the Past database of Grand Slam results]
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=225508&page=1 TennisForum Blast from the Past database of tournament winners]
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=128923&page=2&pp=15 TennisForum Blast from the Past database of top ten finishers]
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=124909 TennisForum Blast from the Past thread about Billie Jean King's amateur career]
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=191817 TennisForum Blast from the Past thread about Billie Jean Moffitt King]
* [http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=285315 TennisForum Blast from the Past thread about tennis players who have won at least 100 singles titles]
*cite book |author=Fein, Paul |title=You Can Quote Me On That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights And Zingers |publisher=Potomac Books |location=Washington |year=2005 |pages= |isbn=1-57488-925-7 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Roberts, Selena |title=A Necessary Spectacle : Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, and the Tennis Match That Leveled the Game |publisher=Crown |location=New York |year=2005 |pages= |isbn=1-4000-5146-0 |oclc= |doi=
* [http://www.billiejeanking.com Official Website]
* [http://www.tennisfame.com/famer.aspx?pgID=867&hof_id=171 International Tennis Hall of Fame profile]
* [http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about/history/billiejean_king.html Official Wimbledon profile]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/wimbledon_history/3742111.stm BBC profile]
* [http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016060.html ESPN.com article]
*imdb title|0258446|When Billie Beat Bobby (info on the 2001 TV drama/comedy about "The Battle of the Sexes")
* [http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0011-king.htm Billie Jean's motivational commencement speech]
* [http://www.WTT.com World TeamTennis]
NAME=King, Billie Jean
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Moffitt, Billie Jean
DATE OF BIRTH=
November 22, 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Long Beach, California, United States
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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