Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King

A professional tennis player winning the triple crown for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the US and Britain
(1943- ), champion tennis player and outspoken advocate of equality for girls and women in sports. King's battle against elitism and sexism in competitive tennis has often reflected and sometimes helped shape significant changes in American society. At various times, King's words and actions have placed her in the center of debate over equality between the sexes, amateurism versus professionalism in sports, abortion rights, and gay and lesbian rights.Billie Jean Moffitt learned to play tennis on the public courts of California. Her entry into the competitive ranks in 1955 at the Southern California Junior Championships gave her her first taste of the country club atmosphere and snobbishness endemic to tennis and its governing body, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (uslta). Throughout her career, she devoted much of her energy to democratizing tennis. In 1967, with six Wimbledon titles under her belt, she attacked the uslta in a series of press conferences. King strongly denounced "shamateurism," the uslta's practice of paying top players under the table to guarantee their entry into uslta--sponsored tournaments. According to King, this corrupt system, by preventing the professionalization of tennis, kept the game elitist and seriously limited opportunities for players who were not independently wealthy.The advent of open tennis in 1968, only a few months after King had turned professional, presented a new set of problems, especially for women players on the tour. As under-the-table payments were replaced by prize money, the pay differential between men and women became a matter of heated public discussion. Defying male players, uslta officials, and tournament promoters, most of whom argued that women should be paid less because the women's game was inferior and drew fewer spectators, King was a central figure in the formation of the Virginia Slims Tour in 1971. The tour offered women players a more lucrative alternative to uslta--sponsored tournaments and, ultimately, commanded enough loyalty from top women players to force the uslta to revise its sexist practice.King's many campaigns on behalf of women in sports have earned her many accolades from devotees of feminism; nonetheless, she has often displayed a certain ambivalence toward the women's movement. In the early 1980s, she was unconvinced that the Equal Rights Amendment was necessary or desirable. King was also placed on the defensive by negative publicity surrounding her private life. The press often focused on the unconventional nature of the Kings' marriage, asking in postgame interviews if her husband Larry had seen the match, how often they saw each other, and if they wanted children. A publicized abortion in 1971 and a palimony suit in 1981 stemming from a lesbian affair with her personal secretary further fed the fires of speculation concerning her relationship to traditional femininity.Billie Jean King, a militant, highly visible, and effective proponent of equality for women athletes, was named Sports Illustrated's first Sportswoman of the Year in 1972. In 1973 she shattered the myth that the best women tennis players are inferior to even the most mediocre men players by decisively defeating Bobby Riggs before a television audience of 37 million people. In 1979, King won her twentieth Wimbledon title, thus breaking the all-time record. Upon retirement from competition in 1984, she held title to nine U.S. championships and one singles title each in the Australian Open, the French Open, and the German Open.Source: answers.com
I would just never out anybody. I think everyone has to find it in their own way and their own time.More Billie Jean King quotes [08/04/2011 01:08:20]
I will tell you King's First Law of Recognition: You never get it when you want it, and then when it comes, you get too much.More Billie Jean King quotes [08/04/2011 01:08:03]
There is no life for girls in team sports past
Little League. I got into tennis when I realized this, and because I
thought golf would be too slow for me, and I was too scared to swim.More Billie Jean King quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I was always in the tennis business-from 1968. I was in tournaments and also on World Team Tennis teams as well.More Billie Jean King quotes [08/04/2011 01:08:55]
Female athletes are stereotyped by the general population--and usually as homosexuals.More Billie Jean King quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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