Bobby Riggs dan Margaret Court berhadapan di "Battle of the Sexes" pertama

Bobby Riggs dan Margaret Court berhadapan di

Pada 13 Mei 1973, selama tahun-tahun awal gerakan pembebasan perempuan, bintang tenis Bobby Riggs dan Margaret Court berhadapan dalam pertandingan tantangan pemenang-ambil-semua senilai $10.000. Riggs yang berusia 55 tahun, seorang juara tenis dari akhir 1930-an dan 40-an yang terkenal skeptis terhadap bakat wanita di lapangan tenis, mencap kontes itu sebagai "pertempuran jenis kelamin." Pertandingan, yang dimainkan pada Hari Ibu dan disiarkan secara internasional, diadakan di kandang sendiri Riggs, San Vincente Country Club di Ramona, California, timur laut San Diego. Hasil dijanjikan ke American Diabetes Association.

BACA JUGA: 7 Wanita yang Mendobrak Hambatan dalam Olahraga

Bobby Riggs awalnya mengusulkan pertandingan pria-wanita kepada Billie Jean King, yang dia juluki sebagai "pembebas tenis wanita terkemuka." King mengabaikan tawaran itu, tetapi Margaret Court dari Australia, yang telah memenangkan 89 dari 92 pertandingan terakhirnya dan merupakan pemenang uang terbanyak dalam tur profesional wanita, menerimanya. Menjelang pertandingan, Riggs dengan keras dan konsisten meremehkan tenis wanita dan para pemainnya kepada media sementara Court, yang sibuk membesarkan putranya yang berusia satu tahun, tidak banyak bicara.

Court adalah pemain servis dan voli, yang dikenal karena permainan kerasnya di depan net. Sebaliknya, Riggs adalah seorang baseliner, dan kemudian diketahui bahwa dia memiliki lapangan yang muncul kembali untuk memperlambat permainan, memberinya waktu untuk menyelesaikan dan menempatkan lebih banyak kekuatan pada pukulannya. Permukaan yang lambat segera menempatkan Court pada posisi yang kurang menguntungkan. Riggs melepaskan tembakan Court ke arahnya, mematahkan ritme yang biasa dia lakukan pada tur wanita yang memukul keras. Bingung, dia kalah dalam pertandingan, 6-2, 6-1.

Saat pertandingan usai, Riggs kembali menantang Billie Jean King. Dia menerimanya, dan pertandingan pemenang-ambil-semua senilai $100.000—dijuluki oleh beberapa "pembebas vs. pelempar"—berlangsung pada 20 September 1973, di depan kerumunan Houston Astrodome yang terjual habis. King berusia 29 tahun itu menang, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Pada konferensi pers setelah pertandingan, Riggs menjelaskan kekalahannya: “Dia terlalu bagus, terlalu cepat. Dia mengembalikan semua tembakan operan saya dan membuat permainan yang bagus… Saya mencoba memainkan permainan saya, tetapi saya tidak bisa.”

Setelah kematian Riggs pada usia 77 pada tahun 1995, King memuji mantan rivalnya dan kontribusinya yang mungkin tidak disengaja untuk kemajuan kesetaraan gender: "Pertandingan 'Battle of the Sexes' kami membantu memajukan permainan tenis dan wanita di mana-mana."

BACA LEBIH BANYAK: Saat Billie Mengalahkan Bobby


Alasan Sebenarnya Billie Jean King Mengalahkan Bobby Riggs Tidak Ada Hubungannya Dengan Tenis

Menurut legenda itu sendiri, alasan Billy Jean King memenangkan pertandingan tenis Battle of Sexes yang terkenal pada tahun 1973 sebenarnya tidak ada hubungannya dengan olahraga itu sendiri. Kemudian 29, King mengalahkan mantan juara Wimbledon berusia 55 tahun Bobby Riggs dalam tiga set. Pertikaian terkenal itu, yang disiarkan di televisi dan dilihat oleh lebih dari 90 juta orang, dipicu oleh Riggs, seorang chauvinis laki-laki yang memproklamirkan diri, dalam upaya untuk menghancurkan wacana feminis saat itu. Jika dia bisa mengalahkan King, pikirnya, itu akan membuktikan bahwa tempat wanita ada di dapur dan kamar tidur - bukan lapangan tenis (atau di mana pun, dalam hal ini.) Dengan bentrokan cita-cita yang memanas ini telah dihidupkan kembali. tahun 2017 Pertempuran Jenis Kelamin dibintangi oleh Emma Stone dan Steve Carell, wanita yang mengalahkan Riggs di lapangan beberapa dekade yang lalu mengklaim bahwa bukan keterampilan fisiknya saja yang berkontribusi untuk menaklukkan pesaingnya.

Duduk bersama King di hotel W di Los Angeles, pemain legendaris, sekarang berusia 73 tahun, mengingat saat dia mengalahkan Riggs seolah-olah baru terjadi kemarin. Dia duduk di tepi sofa, mengenakan blazer merah terstruktur, lipstik merah cerah, dan seuntai mutiara di lehernya, dalam tampilan yang hampir seperti presiden.

"Saya mencintai Bobby, dia adalah salah satu pahlawan saya," katanya, mengakui bahwa dia sebenarnya adalah penggemar berat lawannya sebelum — dan selama — perkelahian mereka yang dipublikasikan secara luas. "Saya ingin dia dihargai, tetapi alasan saya mengalahkannya adalah karena saya menghormatinya. Ayah saya selalu berkata, 'Selalu hormati lawan Anda, bahkan jika Anda tidak menyukainya.' Jangan pernah meremehkan lawan Anda — selamanya."

Sementara King jelas menentang setiap sentimen merendahkan yang keluar dari mulut Riggs, dia mampu menghormati kemampuannya sebagai seorang atlet, daya tahannya, dan rekam jejaknya yang mengesankan. Sayangnya, Riggs tidak bisa mengatakan hal yang sama untuk King, dan atribut juara 1973 itu kurang menghormati kemenangan pamungkasnya.

"Setelah [saya menang], dia melompat ke net dan berkata, 'Saya meremehkan Anda.' Aku tidak percaya," katanya sambil menggelengkan kepalanya. "Rasa hormat selalu menang, karena Anda bisa meletakkan kepala Anda di atas bantal di malam hari dan tahu bahwa Anda melakukan hal yang benar."

Kurangnya rasa hormat Riggs terhadap lawannya menunjukkan konflik budaya yang lebih besar yang terus dihadapi perempuan bahkan sampai sekarang. Wanita menghasilkan 79 sen dari setiap dolar yang diperoleh pria, mereka hanya menghasilkan 17 persen dari anggota dewan, dan hanya 20 persen dari Kongres. Belum lagi, antara seperlima dan setengah veteran perempuan dilecehkan secara seksual saat bertugas aktif, dan daftar ketidakadilan dan ketidaksetaraan secara tragis terus berlanjut. Kurangnya pertimbangan yang terang-terangan ini berlanjut di banyak arena budaya saat ini, hampir 45 tahun setelah King menghancurkan penantang misoginisnya di pengadilan. Karena itu, King menekankan perlunya perempuan, pertama dan terutama, menghormati diri mereka sendiri. Artinya minta uang lebih ya, tapi juga minta keperluan lain juga.

"Wanita diajari untuk tidak meminta apa yang mereka inginkan, tetapi kita harus memintanya. Pikirkan tentang hal itu, benar-benar memvisualisasikan diri Anda melakukannya, dan tidak peduli apa jawabannya," katanya. "Jika ada 'tidak', ada kesempatan lain di tempat lain. Terus berlanjut. Mintalah apa yang Anda inginkan dan butuhkan. Kerjakan pekerjaan rumah Anda. Kebanyakan CEO adalah laki-laki, jadi kita harus meyakinkan mereka untuk memberikan apa yang kita inginkan."

Dan menurut aktivis tersebut, kebanyakan penulis olahraga pada saat pertandingannya adalah laki-laki juga. Karena itu, dia mengembangkan cara untuk berbicara di konferensi pers yang penuh dengan pria yang akan menunjukkan kepada mereka bahwa dia menghormati dan memahami mereka.

"Di zaman saya, jika Anda menggunakan kata 'feminis', banyak orang langsung tersinggung, jadi saya benar-benar harus berjalan di atas tali," katanya.

Untuk mendapatkan ide-idenya tentang kesetaraan didengar, dia akan melakukan percakapan tentang apa arti kata "feminis" dengan ruang laki-laki-berat.

"Saya akan berkata, 'Sebelum kita mulai, mari kita perjelas apa artinya. jika saya menggunakan kata feminis, ini artinya bagi saya. Ini berarti hak dan kesempatan yang sama bagi semua orang, pria dan wanita. Kami tidak membenci pria,'" katanya. "Saya harus melalui proses pendidikan ini."

Tapi anehnya, dan sayangnya, percakapan seputar kata "feminist" tidak banyak berubah. Meskipun kita tahu kata itu hanya berarti kesetaraan, menurut Forbes penulis Kathy Caprino, "Ada ribuan orang yang percaya pada persamaan hak tetapi menganggap 'feminisme' sebagai kata dan gerakan yang tidak sejalan dengan keyakinan atau nilai pribadi mereka." King berjuang untuk mempopulerkan istilah tersebut pada saat itu, dan wanita masih menghadapi ini kesulitan yang sama beberapa dekade kemudian.

Tapi ini hanya satu perjuangan dalam hal kesetaraan secara keseluruhan. Wanita juga memiliki rintangan yang harus dihadapi dalam diri mereka sendiri, seperti belajar mencintai diri sendiri. King menyesalkan bombardir gambar terus-menerus yang mungkin membuat wanita dan gadis merasa buruk tentang tubuh mereka.

"Lihat iklan di TV," katanya. "Mereka mengerikan. Mereka berkata, 'Saya kehilangan 50 pon, dan saya merasa lebih seksi,' tetapi jika harga diri Anda bergantung pada itu, Anda dalam masalah."

Tentu saja, mencintai diri sendiri, sayangnya, lebih mudah diucapkan daripada dilakukan. Bagi King, perubahan pemikiran ini dapat dicapai dengan mencintai dan mendukung wanita lain. "Kita harus terus saling menguatkan, lalu laki-laki juga harus menguatkan kita," katanya.

Dan King menaruh uangnya di tempatnya, setelah memulai lebih dari satu organisasi yang berupaya memberdayakan dan membantu sesama wanita. Inisiatif Kepemimpinan Billie Jean King dan Yayasan Olahraga Wanita keduanya bertujuan untuk memberikan sumber daya untuk membantu wanita dan anak perempuan mencapai kekuatan dan kepuasan sebagai pemimpin dan dalam tim olahraga.

King mungkin telah memenangkan Battle of the Sexes pada tahun 1973, tetapi jelas bahwa masih banyak pertempuran yang harus dimenangkan atas nama wanita di mana-mana — di dalam dan di luar lapangan. Karena alasan sebenarnya Billie Jean King memenangkan pertandingan dongeng tidak ada hubungannya dengan olahraga tenis — dan juga alasan dia memilih untuk menghadapi Riggs.


Isi

Karier junior

Lahir dan dibesarkan di lingkungan Lincoln Heights di Los Angeles, Riggs adalah salah satu dari enam anak Agnes (Jones) dan Gideon Wright Riggs, seorang menteri. [9] Dia adalah pemain tenis meja yang sangat baik sebagai anak laki-laki dan ketika dia mulai bermain tenis pada usia dua belas tahun, [1] dia dengan cepat berteman dan kemudian dilatih oleh Esther Bartosh, yang merupakan pemain wanita peringkat ketiga di Los Angeles. Bergantung sepenuhnya pada kecepatan dan kontrol bola, ia segera mulai memenangkan turnamen putra (sampai usia 15 tahun) dan kemudian turnamen junior (sampai usia 18 tahun). Meskipun kadang-kadang dikatakan bahwa Riggs adalah salah satu pemain tenis hebat yang dibesarkan di Klub Tenis Los Angeles oleh Perry T. Jones dan Asosiasi Tenis California Selatan, Riggs menulis dalam otobiografinya bahwa selama bertahun-tahun Jones menganggap Riggs terlalu kecil dan tidak cukup kuat untuk menjadi pemain papan atas. (Jack Kramer, bagaimanapun, mengatakan dalam otobiografinya sendiri bahwa Jones berbalik melawan Riggs "karena menjadi anak penipu".) [10] : 21 Setelah awalnya membantu Riggs, Jones kemudian menolak untuk mensponsori dia di turnamen penting Timur. Dengan bantuan Bartosh dan lain-lain, Riggs bermain di berbagai Turnamen Nasional dan pada saat ia berusia 16 tahun adalah pemain junior peringkat kelima di Amerika Serikat. Tahun berikutnya ia memenangkan Kejuaraan Nasional pertamanya, memenangkan National Juniors dengan mengalahkan Joe Hunt di final. Pada tahun yang sama, 1935, ia bertemu Hunt di 17 pertandingan babak final dan memenangkan semua 17 dari mereka. Dia tidak terkalahkan selama empat tahun bermain di Franklin High School (Los Angeles) di Highland Park, lingkungan Los Angeles dan merupakan orang pertama yang memenangkan trofi tunggal sekolah menengah atas negara bagian California tiga kali. [11] Pada tahun 1934–1936, ia memenangkan tunggal putra di Turnamen Tenis Ojai. [12]

Pada usia 18, Riggs masih junior tetapi memenangkan Gelar Pria California Selatan dan kemudian pergi ke Timur untuk bermain di sirkuit lapangan rumput terlepas dari tentangan Jones. Sepanjang jalan ia memenangkan Kejuaraan Lapangan Tanah Liat Pria AS di Chicago, mengalahkan Frank Parker di final dengan pukulan jatuh dan lob. Meskipun dia belum pernah bermain di lapangan rumput sebelumnya, Riggs memenangkan dua turnamen dan mencapai final di dua turnamen lainnya. Meski masih junior, ia mengakhiri tahun dengan menempati peringkat keempat di Peringkat Pria Amerika Serikat. Kramer, yang tiga tahun lebih muda dari Riggs, menulis, "Saya sering bermain Riggs saat itu di Los Angeles Tennis Club. Dia juga menyukai saya secara pribadi, tetapi dia tidak pernah memberi saya istirahat. Selama dia bisa, dia akan mengalahkanku dalam hal cinta. Bobby selalu melihat ke bawah. 'Aku ingin kamu tahu siapa bosnya, selama sisa hidupmu, Nak,' katanya padaku. Bobby Riggs selalu jujur." [10] : 31

Gaya bermain Sunting

Bertubuh kecil, ia tidak memiliki kekuatan keseluruhan dari pesaingnya yang lebih besar seperti Don Budge dan Kramer tetapi menebusnya dengan otak, kontrol bola, dan kecepatan. Sebagai ahli strategi dan ahli taktik lapangan, dia membuat lawannya keluar dari posisinya dan mencetak poin dengan drop shot dan lob terbaik serta pukulan ground yang memungkinkan dia masuk ke net untuk melakukan put-away shot. Kramer, salah satu dari sedikit pemain yang tidak dapat disangkal lebih baik dari Riggs, menulis bahwa ada "kesalahpahaman" besar tentang Riggs. "Dia tidak memainkan gaya rinky-dink Harold Solomon, mengoper bola di tanah. Dia tidak memiliki servis yang besar, tapi dia menebusnya dengan servis pertama yang licik dan servis kedua yang bagus. Saya telah melihat saat itu. Ketika Anda berbicara tentang kedalaman dan akurasi keduanya, servis kedua Riggs berada di urutan teratas dengan tiga servis terbaik lainnya yang pernah saya lihat: von Cramm, Gonzales, dan Newcombe." Dalam otobiografinya, Riggs menulis, "Dalam pertandingan 1946 dengan Budge [untuk Kejuaraan Pro Amerika Serikat], saya menyerang net di setiap kesempatan. Menggunakan apa yang saya sebut senjata rahasia saya, servis pertama yang keras, saya menyerang terus-menerus selama 6 menit saya. –3, 6-1, 6-1 kemenangan."

"Riggs," kata Kramer, "adalah juara yang hebat. Dia mengalahkan Segura. Dia mengalahkan Budge ketika Don hanya sedikit melewati puncaknya. Dalam tur yang panjang, naik turun seperti Vines, aku tidak begitu yakin bahwa Riggs tidak akan memainkan Elly dengan sangat dekat. Aku yakin dia akan mengalahkan Gonzales — Bobby terlalu cepat, dia memiliki terlalu banyak kendali untuk Pancho — dan Laver dan Rosewall dan Hoad."

Kramer melanjutkan dengan mengatakan bahwa Riggs "bisa menjaga bola tetap dalam permainan, dan dia bisa menemukan cara untuk mengendalikan lawan yang lebih besar dan lebih kuat. Dia bisa menjepit Anda kembali dengan memukul panjang, ke bawah garis, dan kemudian dia akan membuat Anda kasar. dengan chip dan drop shot. Dia luar biasa dengan tendangan voli dari kedua sisi, dan dia bisa melakukan lob sebaik siapa pun. Dia juga bisa melakukan lob saat berlari. Dia bisa menyamarkannya, dan dia bisa memukul overhead kemenangan. Mereka tidak kuat, tetapi mereka selalu tepat sasaran."

Karier amatir Sunting

Sebagai seorang amatir berusia 20 tahun, Riggs adalah bagian dari tim pemenang Piala Davis Amerika pada tahun 1938. Tahun berikutnya, 1939, ia berhasil mencapai final Kejuaraan Prancis tetapi kemudian memenangkan tiga gelar Kejuaraan Wimbledon, merebut nomor tunggal, [5] ganda dengan Elwood Cooke, dan ganda campuran dengan Alice Marble, yang juga memenangkan ketiga gelar. [13] Riggs memenangkan $100.000 dengan bertaruh pada triple win, kemudian memenangkan Kejuaraan AS, menghasilkan peringkat amatir No. 1 dunia untuk tahun 1939. Riggs memenangkan empat gelar tunggal berturut-turut di Kejuaraan Lapangan Rumput Timur antara tahun 1937 dan 1940. Dia bekerja sama dengan Alice Marble, rekan juara Wimbledonnya, untuk memenangkan gelar ganda campuran Kejuaraan AS 1940. Pada tahun 1941, ia memenangkan gelar tunggal Kejuaraan AS keduanya, setelah itu ia menjadi profesional. Karir barunya, bagaimanapun, dengan cepat terganggu oleh dinas militer selama Perang Dunia II sebagai spesialis Angkatan Laut. [14] [15] Selama dinas militernya, Riggs adalah anggota landasan dari juara liga 1945 Tim Tenis Lapangan Angkatan Laut Distrik Angkatan Laut ke-14.

Karir profesional Sunting

Setelah perang, sebagai seorang profesional, Riggs memenangkan gelar Pro AS pada tahun 1946, 1947, dan 1949, mengalahkan Don Budge di ketiga final. Dalam tur head-to-head 1946 melawan Budge, Riggs memenangkan 24 pertandingan dan kalah 22, ditambah 1 pertandingan seri di Birmingham, Alabama mengukuhkan dirinya sebagai pemain terbaik di dunia. [16] Budge mengalami cedera pada bahu kanannya dalam latihan militer selama perang dan tidak pernah sepenuhnya pulih dari fleksibilitas sebelumnya. Sekarang, pada tahun 1946, menurut Kramer, "Bobby bermain ke bahu Budge, melemparnya sampai mati, memenangkan dua belas pertandingan pertama, tiga belas dari empat belas pertandingan pertama, dan kemudian bertahan untuk mengalahkan Budge, dua puluh empat pertandingan menjadi dua puluh dua pertandingan. ."

Ada serangkaian 18 turnamen profesional pada tahun 1946 dari Memphis pada 11 Juni hingga Los Angeles pada 17 November, yang mencakup turnamen profesional utama di Forest Hills dan di tempat lain. [17] Seri ini memberikan poin kepada pemain berdasarkan penyelesaian mereka di setiap turnamen. Riggs finis pertama di seri turnamen dengan 278 poin, kemudian Budge (164 poin), Kovacs (149 poin), Van Horn (143 poin), Earn (94 poin), Sabin (74 poin), Faunce (68 poin), Jossi (60 poin), Perry (50 poin). Ini akan menjadi seri turnamen kejuaraan tenis profesional besar pertama yang dilaporkan, dan tidak terulang sampai tahun 1959, 1960, dan kemudian 1964–68. Riggs akan menyebut seri turnamen ini sebagai bukti status peringkat tenis profesional dunianya di No. 1.

Kramer mengalami tahun yang sensasional pada tahun 1947 sebagai seorang amatir. Riggs dan Kramer bertemu tiga kali pada akhir Desember 1947 di lapangan cepat dalam ruangan Riggs memenangkan dua pertandingan ini.

Promotor tur Riggs-Budge 1946 adalah Jack Harris. Pada pertengahan 1947, dia sudah membuat kesepakatan dengan Kramer bahwa dia akan menjadi profesional setelah Kejuaraan AS, terlepas dari apakah dia pemenangnya. Dia juga memberi tahu Riggs dan Budge bahwa pemenang Kejuaraan Tunggal Amerika Profesional, yang akan diadakan di Forest Hills, akan menetapkan Juara Dunia yang akan mempertahankan gelarnya melawan Kramer. Riggs kesal, percaya bahwa dia telah menetapkan haknya untuk menjadi juara dunia bertahan dalam tur melawan Kramer. Untuk tahun kedua berturut-turut, Riggs mengalahkan Budge di final Forest Hills, kali ini dalam pertandingan lima set yang ketat. Harris menandatangani Kramer untuk 35 persen dari penerimaan kotor dan menawarkan 20 persen kepada Riggs. Dia kemudian berubah pikiran, seperti yang diceritakan Riggs dalam otobiografinya, "mengatakan dia bisa mendapatkan Ted Schroeder sebagai salah satu pasangan pendukung, asalkan Kramer dan saya akan menghasilkan 2½ persen saham kami untuk membangun penawaran kepada Ted. Kami keduanya setuju — dan kemudian Schroeder menolak." Harris kemudian mengontrak Pancho Segura dan Dinny Pails dengan harga $300 ($3,480 hari ini) per minggu untuk memainkan pertandingan pembukaan tur Riggs-Kramer. Riggs kemudian memainkan Kramer untuk 17½ persen dari penerimaan kotor. [18] : 16

Pada tanggal 26 Desember 1947, Kramer dan Riggs memulai tur panjang mereka, dimulai dengan kemenangan mudah oleh Riggs di depan 15.000 orang, yang telah mencapai Madison Square Garden di New York City meskipun badai salju rekor, yang telah membuat kota itu terhenti. [19] [20] Pada tanggal 16 Januari 1948, Riggs memimpin 8 pertandingan menjadi 6. Pada akhir dari 26 pertandingan, Riggs dan Kramer masing-masing menang 13. Pada saat itu, bagaimanapun, Kramer telah meningkatkan servis keduanya untuk mengambil keuntungan. dari lapangan dalam ruangan cepat yang mereka mainkan dan sekarang mampu menahan Riggs untuk maju ke net. Kramer juga memulai tur dengan memainkan sebagian besar setiap pertandingan dari baseline. Akhirnya menyadari bahwa dia hanya bisa mengalahkan Riggs dari net, dia mengubah gaya permainannya dan mulai menyerang net pada setiap poin. Riggs tidak mampu menangani permainan kekuatan luar biasa Kramer. Selama sisa tur, Kramer mendominasi Riggs tanpa ampun, memenangkan 56 dari 63 pertandingan terakhir. Skor akhir adalah 69 kemenangan untuk Kramer versus 20 untuk Riggs, terakhir kali seorang juara amatir mengalahkan raja profesional yang berkuasa pada tur pertama mereka. Dalam banyak pertandingan terakhir, diasumsikan oleh pengamat bahwa Riggs sering menyerah setelah tertinggal dan membiarkan Kramer kehabisan kemenangan. Riggs mengatakan dalam otobiografinya bahwa Kramer telah menghasilkan "hampir seratus ribu dolar dari tur Amerika saja, sementara saya menerima hampir lima puluh ribu dolar sebagai bagian saya." [18] : 25 [21]

Pada tahun 1951, lebih dari 20 tahun sebelum dia menghadapi Pengadilan dan Raja, Riggs memainkan serangkaian pertandingan singkat melawan Pauline Betz. Pertandingan-pertandingan ini dijadwalkan untuk pertandingan pertama malam itu sebelum Kramer menghadapi Segura di kontes utama World Series. Pertandingan Riggs-Betz berlangsung menjelang akhir tur (setelah lawan Betz, Gussie Moran meninggalkan tur).

Meskipun masih mengalahkan para profesional hebat seperti Pancho Segura, Pancho Gonzales, Jack Kramer atau Frank Kovacs di tahun-tahun berikutnya, Riggs segera pensiun dari tenis kompetitif dan secara singkat mengambil alih pekerjaan mempromosikan permainan profesional.

Sebagai pemain senior di usia 60-an dan 70-an, Riggs memenangkan banyak gelar nasional dalam berbagai kelompok umur.

Suntingan Grand Slam

Tunggal : 3 gelar, 2 runner-up

Hasil Tahun Kejuaraan Permukaan Lawan Skor
Kehilangan 1939 Kejuaraan Prancis Tanah liat Don McNeill 5–7, 0–6, 3–6
Menang 1939 Wimbledon Rumput Elwood Cooke 2–6, 8–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Menang 1939 Kejuaraan A.S Rumput Welby Van Horn 6–4, 6–2, 6–4
Kehilangan 1940 Kejuaraan A.S Rumput Don McNeill 6–4, 8–6, 3–6, 3–6, 5–7
Menang 1941 Kejuaraan A.S Rumput Frank Kovacs 5–7, 6–1, 6–3, 6–3

Sunting Pro Slam

Tunggal : 3 gelar, 3 runner-up

Hasil Tahun Kejuaraan Permukaan Lawan Skor
Kehilangan 1942 Pro AS Rumput Don Budge 2–6, 2–6, 2–6
Menang 1946 Pro AS Rumput Don Budge 6–3, 6–1, 6–1
Menang 1947 Pro AS Rumput Don Budge 3–6, 6–3, 10–8, 4–6, 6–3
Kehilangan 1948 Pro AS Rumput Jack Kramer 12–14, 2–6, 6–3, 3–6
Kehilangan 1949 Wembley Pro Dalam Jack Kramer 6–2, 4–6, 3–6, 4–6
Menang 1949 Pro AS Rumput Don Budge 9–7, 3–6, 6–3, 7–5

Garis waktu kinerja Sunting

Riggs bergabung dengan sirkuit tenis profesional pada tahun 1941 dan sebagai akibatnya dilarang berkompetisi di Grand Slam amatir.

(A*) Pertandingan 1 set di babak penyisihan.

1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 SR W–L Menangkan %
Turnamen Grand Slam 3 / 8 40–5 88.9
Australia Terbuka A A A A A tidak diadakan tidak memenuhi syarat 0 / 0 0–0
Prancis Terbuka A A A F tidak diadakan tidak memenuhi syarat 0 / 1 6–1 85.7
Wimbledon A A A W tidak diadakan tidak memenuhi syarat 1 / 1 7–0 100.0
AS Terbuka 4R SF 4R W F W tidak memenuhi syarat 2 / 6 27–4 87.1
Turnamen Pro Slam 3 / 18 36–16 69.2
Pro AS A A A A A A F A NH A W W F W SF SF A SF 1R QF A QF QF QF A A* A* 3 / 13 29–11 72.5
Pro Prancis A A A A tidak diadakan A NH A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Wembley Pro NH A NH A tidak diadakan F SF QF QF QF NH NH A A A A A A A 0 / 5 7–5 58.3
Menang–Kalah 2–1 5–1 3–1 19–1 5–1 6–0 4–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 5–0 6–0 4–1 6–1 3–2 3–3 1–1 3–2 0–1 1–1 0–0 0–1 0–1 0–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 6 / 26 76–21 78.4

Riggs terkenal sebagai penipu dan penjudi, [22] [23] ketika dalam otobiografinya tahun 1949 ia menulis bahwa ia telah menghasilkan 105.000 ($ 1.954.000 hari ini) pada tahun 1939 dengan bertaruh, di Inggris, pada dirinya sendiri untuk memenangkan ketiga kejuaraan Wimbledon: tunggal , ganda dan ganda campuran. Pada saat itu, sebagian besar taruhan ilegal di Inggris. Dari taruhan awal $500 pada peluangnya untuk memenangkan kompetisi tunggal, dia akhirnya memenangkan setara dengan $1,5 juta pada dolar tahun 2010. Menurut Riggs, Perang Dunia II mencegahnya membawa kemenangannya ke luar negeri, sehingga pada tahun 1946 setelah perang berakhir, ia kemudian memiliki jumlah yang lebih besar yang menunggunya di Inggris karena telah ditambah dengan bunga.

Pada tahun 1973, Riggs melihat peluang untuk menghasilkan uang dan menarik perhatian pada olahraga tenis. Dia keluar dari masa pensiun untuk menantang salah satu pemain wanita terhebat di dunia untuk bertanding, mengklaim bahwa permainan wanita lebih rendah dan bahwa seorang pemain wanita top tidak dapat mengalahkannya, bahkan pada usia 55 tahun. Dia menantang Margaret Court, 30 tahun tua dan pemain wanita top di dunia, dan mereka bermain pada 13 Mei, Hari Ibu, di Ramona, California. Riggs menggunakan drop shot dan lob untuk menjaga keseimbangan Court [24] [25] kemenangannya yang mudah 6-2, 6-1 dalam waktu kurang dari satu jam mendaratkan dia di sampul kedua Ilustrasi olah Raga dan Waktu Majalah. [25] [26] Pertandingan itu disebut "Pembantaian Hari Ibu". [27]

Riggs awalnya menantang Billie Jean King, tetapi dia menolak, menganggap tantangan itu sebagai tipu muslihat yang bodoh. Menyusul kekalahan Court dari Riggs, King memutuskan untuk menerima tantangannya, [28] [29] dan keduanya bertemu di Houston Astrodome di televisi prime time pada hari Kamis, 20 September, dalam pertandingan yang disebut sebagai Pertempuran Jenis Kelamin. [6] Pembuat peluang dan penulis menyukai Riggs [30] ia membangun keunggulan awal, tetapi King menang dalam set langsung (6–4, 6–3, 6–3) untuk hadiah pemenang-ambil-semua $ 100.000. [7] [8]

Program ESPN Di luar Garis [31] membuat tuduhan bahwa Riggs mengambil keuntungan dari peluang besar melawan Raja dan melemparkan pertandingan untuk mendapatkan hutangnya kepada massa terhapus. Program ini menampilkan seorang pria yang telah diam selama 40 tahun karena alasan perlindungan diri yang mengklaim bahwa dia telah bekerja di country club dan mendengar beberapa anggota mafia berbicara tentang Riggs yang melempar korek api dengan imbalan membatalkan hutang judinya kepada massa. Program tersebut juga menyatakan bahwa teman dekat Riggs dan eksekutor real Lornie Kuhle dengan keras menyangkal bahwa Riggs pernah berutang kepada massa atau menerima imbalan dari mereka.

Dalam film adaptasi 2017 Pertempuran Jenis Kelamin, Riggs diperankan oleh Steve Carell, dengan Emma Stone sebagai Billie Jean King. [32] [33]

Riggs menikah dua kali, dan memiliki dua putra dari pernikahan pertama, dan tiga putra dan putri dari pernikahan kedua. [34] Sebelum dia berusia 21 tahun, Riggs berkencan dengan sesama pemain tenis Pauline Betz. Kemudian, di turnamen negara bagian Illinois, dia bertemu Catherine "Kay" Fischer. Mereka menikah pada awal Desember 1939 di Chicago, dan bercerai pada awal 1950-an. [35]

Riggs bertemu istri keduanya, Priscilla Wheelan, di lapangan LaGorce Country Club di Miami. Priscilla berasal dari keluarga kaya yang memiliki America Photograph Corporation terkemuka yang berbasis di New York. [36] Mereka menikah pada September 1952, [35] bercerai pada 1971, dan menikah lagi pada 1991. [37]

Riggs didiagnosis menderita kanker prostat pada tahun 1988. Dia dan Lornie Kuhle mendirikan Bobby Riggs Tennis Club and Museum di Encinitas, California untuk meningkatkan kesadaran akan penyakit tersebut dan menyimpan memoar/pialanya. Riggs meninggal pada 25 Oktober 1995, di rumahnya di Leucadia, Encinitas, California, pada usia 77 tahun. Dia meninggalkan dua putra dari pernikahan pertamanya, tiga anak dari pernikahan keduanya, dua saudara lelaki dan empat cucu. [4] [38]

Di hari-hari terakhirnya, Riggs tetap menjalin hubungan persahabatan dengan Billie Jean King, dan King sering meneleponnya. Dia memanggilnya sesaat sebelum kematiannya, menawarkan untuk mengunjunginya, tetapi dia tidak ingin dia melihatnya dalam kondisinya. Dia meneleponnya untuk terakhir kalinya, malam sebelum kematiannya dan, menurut King dalam sebuah film dokumenter HBO tentang dia, hal terakhir yang dia katakan kepada Riggs adalah "Aku mencintaimu." [39]


Tag: Margaret Court

Bin dch: Nguyễn Thị Kim Phụng

Vào ngày này năm 1973, trong thời kỳ u của phong trào giải phóng phụ nữ, hai ngôi sao tennis Bobby Riggs và Margaret Court i u trong một trn u mà Riggs 55 tuổi, một nhà vô địch tennis từ cuối thập niên 1930 và đầu thập niên 1940, người nổi tiếng luôn hoài nghi về tài năng của phí n trên tn jenis kelamin). Trận u, diễn ra vào Ngày của Mẹ và c phát trên sóng truyền hình quốc tế, c tổ chức trên sân nhà của Riggs, California Tin thu c c hứa em trao tặng cho Hiệp hội Tiểu ng Mỹ. lanjutkan membaca 󈫽/05/1973: “Trận chiến Giới tính” u tiên giữa Bobby Riggs và Margaret Court”


Apa selanjutnya

Pada bulan-bulan berikutnya, tertekan oleh kehilangannya, Riggs akan mengganggu King untuk pertandingan ulang — yang akan dia tolak. Seiring berjalannya waktu, dua pesaing Battle of the Sexes akan menciptakan ikatan yang langgeng, dan mereka akan tetap berteman sampai Riggs meninggal pada tahun 1995.

Sembilan belas tahun setelah pertandingan, pada tahun 1992, pertarungan "pria vs wanita" lainnya, bernama The Battle of Champions, melihat Jimmy Connors mengalahkan Martina Navratilova. Meskipun dia hanya diizinkan satu servis dan dia bisa memukul setengah dari gang ganda, dia masih menang 7-5 6-2. Connors kemudian mengklaim bahwa dia telah bertaruh satu juta dolar untuk dirinya sendiri dengan menjatuhkan kurang dari delapan pertandingan.


Setelah mengalahkan seorang pemain tenis wanita, Riggs menantang King untuk &apos menjaga hal seks ini&apos

Pada awal 1973, Riggs yang berusia 55 tahun mengumpulkan perhatian yang sangat dibutuhkan dengan mengecam kualitas tenis wanita&aposs dan menuntut untuk menghadapi pemain topnya. Dia umumnya diabaikan oleh targetnya, tetapi musim semi itu dia menemukan pengambil di juara Australia Margaret Court.

Court, yang saat itu berusia 30 tahun, berada di tengah karier yang menghasilkan lebih banyak gelar tunggal Grand Slam daripada pemain lain – pria atau wanita – dalam sejarah, tetapi dia tidak siap untuk pertandingan 13 Mei melawan Riggs. Terlempar oleh berbagai macam lob, drop shot, dan trik lainnya, Court dengan cepat membuka jalan menuju kemenangan 6-2, 6-1 yang dijuluki "Pembantaian Hari Ibu".

Siram dalam kemenangan, Riggs segera memanggil lawan yang dia sukai selama ini. "Sekarang aku sangat menginginkan Raja," dia mengumumkan. ""Saya akan memainkannya di tanah liat, rumput, kayu, semen, marmer, atau sepatu roda . . . Kita harus menjaga hal seks ini. Aku & quot King sudah memiliki banyak hal, termasuk, ternyata, hubungan rahasia dengan asisten wanitanya, tetapi dia tahu tidak ada pilihan jika dia berharap untuk mempertahankan keuntungan yang diperoleh dengan susah payah untuk pihak wanita. . Pada bulan Juli itu, pemain berusia 29 tahun itu secara resmi menyetujui pertandingan senilai $100.000, pemenang-ambil-semua dengan olahraga & aposs yang berkuasa.


Rabu menandai 44 tahun sejak tenis 'Battle of the Sexes'

Pertandingan itu datang pada saat yang sangat penting bagi King dan wanita di tenis. King, 29, sebelumnya menolak tantangan Riggs, tetapi setuju untuk menghadapi pria berusia 55 tahun itu setelah ia memenangkan pertandingan serupa pada Mei melawan Margaret Court. Beberapa minggu sebelum pertandingan King dengan Riggs, dia termasuk di antara sekelompok kecil pemain yang membantu menciptakan tur wanita profesional di tenis.

King juga menghadapi skeptis yang percaya bahwa seorang wanita tidak bisa mengalahkan seorang pria dalam kompetisi atletik. King mengatakan dia khawatir "itu akan membuat kita mundur 50 tahun jika saya tidak memenangkan pertandingan itu."

Dia juga seorang advokat untuk hak-hak perempuan di luar lapangan tenis. Dia adalah pendukung undang-undang Judul IX yang baru, yang mensyaratkan kesetaraan gender dalam program pendidikan yang menerima dana federal, dan dia mengatakan bahwa dia yakin kecocokannya dengan Riggs akan memengaruhi opini publik tentang undang-undang tersebut.

Pada hari pertandingan, lebih dari 30.000 orang masuk ke Houston Astrodome, dan 50 juta menonton di TV. King mengalahkan Riggs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Pada tahun 2013, ESPN menyelidiki tuduhan bahwa Riggs sengaja melemparkan pertandingan untuk membayar mafia. Meskipun Riggs meninggal pada tahun 1995, King berbicara tentang kontroversi tersebut, mempertahankan bahwa dia menang secara adil dan jujur.

"Saya 100 persen yakin Bobby sangat ingin menang seperti saya," katanya. "Mereka yang bertaruh melawan saya kehilangan uang tetapi hasilnya sama hari ini seperti 40 tahun yang lalu."


Battle of the Sexes: Ketika Bobby Riggs menghancurkan Margaret Court dalam Pembantaian Hari Ibu

Bisakah John McEnroe mengalahkan Serena Williams, jika mereka bermain besok?

Ini adalah pertanyaan yang sama yang ditanyakan pada tahun 1973, ketika Bobby Riggs berhadapan langsung dengan Margaret Court.

Dan seperti halnya pemirsa televisi global yang pasti akan menonton setiap bentrokan McEnroe-Williams, demikian pula Pertempuran Jenis Kelamin yang terjadi 47 tahun yang lalu minggu ini menangkap imajinasi dunia.

Pada 13 Mei 1973 – 47 tahun yang lalu minggu ini – sampai pada tebak-tebakan untuk memprediksi apakah Riggs yang berusia 55 tahun, juara Wimbledon 1939 yang sudah lama pensiun dan pemenang AS Terbuka dua kali, dapat menandingi pemain berusia 30 tahun itu. Court, saat itu sudah menjadi pemenang grand slam 22 kali.

Itu dikenal sebagai Pembantaian Hari Ibu.

Siapa Bobby Riggs, dan apa yang harus dia dapatkan?

Riggs adalah seorang Amerika berusia 55 tahun yang pada zamannya telah menyaingi orang-orang seperti Jack Kramer dan Fred Perry. Dikenal sebaliknya untuk perjudian dan bergegas, Riggs flamboyan dianggap lama selesai sebagai pemain tenis yang serius sebelum ia menantang Billie Jean King, yang menolak untuk bermain dia, dan kemudian Pengadilan untuk pemenang-mengambil-semua pertandingan.

Pengadilan Australia menerima, mendorong King untuk mengatakan, menurut laporan Sports Illustrated pada saat itu: "Jika Margaret kalah, kami dalam masalah. Saya harus menantangnya sendiri."

Kedua pemain dikatakan telah mengantongi biaya penampilan yang sehat, dengan $10.000 dipertaruhkan dalam kontes itu sendiri.

Di mana Pengadilan vs Riggs terjadi?

San Vicente Valley California menggelar pertarungan, tempat yang sangat terpencil untuk tenis Minggu sore.

Drama itu berlangsung di lapangan hijau, dikelilingi oleh empat tribun sementara yang menampung 3.000 penonton yang membayar $10 per kepala, termasuk bintang hari ini, dengan bintang sepak bola Amerika OJ Simpson dan aktor Bill Cosby di antara mereka yang tertarik ke padang pasir.

"I kinda think that if you're competing seriously all the time, Margaret Court will have an edge," Simpson told a US TV crew.

How did Riggs approach his greatest hustle?

Determinedly boorish, Riggs, who wore black thick-rimmed glasses, was focused on ensuring this match was about the hustle as much as the tennis.

His objective was to knock Court out of her stride before they began, and contemporary reports speculated that inveterate gambler Riggs had rather more riding on the outcome than the relatively modest prize money.

He played up his image as an enemy to womankind, and many Americans were revolted, with Riggs crowing: "I am the greatest money player in history."

There was the date, Mother's Day, that brought added intrigue. A day to celebrate mothers, and womankind, was in danger of being hijacked. Court was a new mother herself.

Crucially, Riggs had trained hard, knocking several vices on the head, or at least limiting them, and achieving prim shape, certainly for a man in his mid-fifties.

Court dressed for the occasion, in a patriotic yellow and green pastel kit, 'Margaret' stitched onto the collar. The New York Times reported it was the first time she had not worn white.

She had plenty of support, too. 'Women's libbers', as they were popularly known at the time, were out in force to back Court.

But Riggs was not to be outdone, and the showman walked down onto the court from a stairway in the stands decked out in a tracksuit as blue as the sky, carrying a bouquet of roses, that he presented nonchalantly to Court, who instinctively curtsied.

Bobby Riggs would have turned 102 years old today.We were fierce competitors on the court in the Battle of the Sexes, but off the court, he was my friend.Happy birthday, Bobby. You are missed. pic.twitter.com/4oq75W18ZG

— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) February 25, 2020

A match that the bookmakers could not call was to prove utterly one-sided, indeed hugely anti-climactic.

Once the drama of the build-up was done, Riggs pegged back serve-volleyer Court and tore to a 6-2 6-1 victory.

Hardly what the CBS television audience, and those watching back in Australia, had expected.

Court's performance was unusually listless, and she said afterwards the gentle nature of Riggs' game, which he had mixed up to compelling effect, had caught her out.

As an excuse, it was bunk really. Riggs the show pony had completely outfoxed her, steering her to distraction.

"My concentration was bad today," Court told reporters, "and I've been concentrating really well in the last six months or so. I saw everything going on around the court today which was very unusual for me."

Riggs rejoices, and "proves a point"

Court had stressed before the match she was not interested in the 'Battle of the Sexes' element of the contest and was not carrying any banner, but Riggs was all over that aspect.

"I think it proves a point," he said afterwards.

"Fifty-five-year-old, one foot in the grave, night and day difference. And she's the best woman player of all time.

"Sixty million people watching. Biggest match of all time. Battle of the Sexes. And we've all had plenty of time to get ready for it. And you saw what happened, I don't have to explain it to you.

"I think it was the tension, the pressure, the biggest match ever played. The 60 million audience on television. All the press, the way the thing has been built up over the last six months

"She arrived here with the whole pressure of the women's world on her."

Bobby Riggs had approached me several times to play him prior to 1973, but I had not taken the bait. When Margaret Court accepted his invitation to play, I told her, ‘You know you have to win, right?’ Once she lost the match, I knew I would have to play him.

— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 21, 2019

After seeing off Court, Riggs could name his price for a follow-up match, providing he could find a worthy opponent.

In stepped King, just as she promised, and both reportedly landed $75,000 just for taking part in a September 1973 clash, with a further $100,000 for the winner.

Hosted at the Houston Astrodome, King sauntered to a 6-4 6-3 6-3 victory to land the cash, strike a crucial blow for women in sport, and surely give Court more than a little pause for thought.


Tennis's Other ➺ttle of the Sexes,' Before King-Riggs

Margaret Court followed the money down a desolate two-lane highway. About 40 miles northeast of San Diego, the road known as Wildcat Canyon slithered past orange groves, a dusty Indian reservation and through the shadows of the Cuyamaca Mountains. It was an uncomfortable stretch, so isolated that Mexican drug smugglers favored the route for their midnight drops.

Reaching the outpost of Ramona, Calif., Margaret found a luxury housing development still in the bulldozing stage. It was May 13, 1973. A tennis has-been named Bobby Riggs and a sure $10,000 were just 48 hours away.

All the 5-foot-10 Aussie had to do was punch a few volleys past the geezer in telescopic glasses. All the mommy of the moment had to decide was where to ace the mouthy, wrinkled runt: down the middle or out wide.

It was going to be so easy. With her husband and infant son by her side, Margaret would walk onto a court surrounded by 3,200 fans in makeshift bleachers, impose her V-8 power strokes on Bobby, and exit this lizard's paradise with the winner-take-all payday, plus an extra $10,000 in television rights fees from CBS.

Margaret often described money as an evil, but even she had to admit that the dough was the inducement that brought her here, not Bobby's sexist prattle. She entered her match with Riggs as if it were an exhibition, rather than a serious competition against a skilled and cunning opponent. And she gave no thought to its social consequences. American women were tossing bras, girdles and nylons into trash bins, but the women's movement didn't move Margaret. She was a Mrs., not a Ms.

"I found that a difficult time," Margaret recalls. "I always felt your gift made room for you. Whether you're a man or whether you're a woman, I didn't feel you had to go over the top."

No, Margaret was never one to go over the top. She was a benevolent bystander when Billie Jean King and eight other women risked their tennis careers in daring skirmishes for prize-money equality in 1970. She was a practicing pacifist when those women -- known as The Original Nine -- defied the male tennis establishment to form an autonomous circuit called the Virginia Slims.

Margaret just wasn't the defiant type. She preferred to be a non-combatant amid the gender mudslinging of the early seventies. As a devout Christian who found moral clarity in the Scriptures, she was like many alienated onlookers who couldn't separate man-bashing militants from the messengers of equality. Everything had changed so much, so fast while she was away.

She had fled from fame in 1966, retiring from tennis for two years, desperate to shed her label as the Aussie wonder girl who had won 13 majors before her 25th birthday. But after her marriage to Barry Court in 1967, she returned to the tour in 1968. She hadn't touched a racket in two years, but she slipped right back into her old competitive skin.

In 1970, Margaret won all four majors to capture the elusive Grand Slam. None of those victories was more remarkable than her two-and-a-half-hour epic at Wimbledon. Just before her final against Billie Jean King, Margaret received two painkiller injections into her puffy ankle, blue from a ligament she tore in an earlier match. Billie Jean grimaced through the end of the match with leg cramps and cranky knees.

Barry traveled the world with Margaret. He shrugged off the teases from the blokes back home and never seemed threatened by her success. She was embraced, not marginalized by men. She didn't realize that few women of her time could join her in saying, "I was always the leader of the gang, you know, I had eight boys in the street and I was the cowboy and never the Indian. I never felt frustrated."

All of her life, gentlemen had routinely opened doors for Margaret: from Wal Rutter, the grumpy pro at the tennis club in her hometown of Albury, New South Wales, to the gym attendants who let her into the weight room at 5 a.m., to her coach, the Australian tennis legend Frank Sedgman, who whisked her away from Albury, offering her a job as a typist and a future as a player. At fifteen, Margaret Smith, who grew up in a rented home where she could measure the financial burdens on her family in the amount of alcohol her father drank, was bound for Melbourne to become a gender bender of her own design: a woman with uncommon muscle but traditional values.

Throughout her career, Margaret was an opponent's nightmare. She swooped down and plucked more titles than any woman in history as the unassuming wife who was happy to take career breaks for childbirth. After the first of her three children arrived in 1972, Margaret sat on the sideline for nearly a year. She returned to the tennis mix in 1973, starting off the season with an Australian Open title.

Margaret's priorities were family, tennis and, especially, God, after a spiritual rebirth in the spring of 1972. Religion simplified her world. It eliminated political nuance and its complexities, perhaps one reason she never saw the social tentacles attached to the mouth of Bobby Riggs. To her, Bobby was a harmless huckster with an outdated game and a chauvinist's shtick, a threat to be taken as seriously as a haunted house. His fangs were false his hair was dyed his best days were cobwebbed.

"She didn't get it," Billie says. "She just didn't get it."

Bobby reveled in the perception of himself as a living, breathing punch line of the senior circuit, but there was a message in his act. In the early seventies, Bobby began speaking out against the short shrifting of seniors. He demanded more prize money for aging ex-champions like himself while mocking Billie Jean King's own crusade for equal pay. If women are raking it in, what about us?

Bobby felt sure that any graying champ could knock the high heels off any woman anywhere. And it would mean a second lap with fame for Riggs himself.

The sprite-sized Riggs, a player who survived against giants by exploiting their human weaknesses, plotted his way to the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1939 at 21. The instant attention he gained was delightfully dizzying, a feeling he never thought heɽ recapture. Then came the spring of ❳.

To be surrounded like a bonfire again, to be seated at the best tables in the house, it all made for an intoxicating range of possibilities. But he couldn't realize any of them unless he made the match a reality. So Bobby did what came naturally for him -- he put money on it. Armed with a $5,000 carrot, he sent out telegrams challenging his wish list of opponents: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Margaret Smith Court.

Billie was the one he wanted, the one who really mattered. "The sex leader of the revolutionary pack," he tagged her. That was typical Riggs, a lob over the net that was meant to tease, to frustrate. To goad. Billie just let it skip out of bounds. "There was nothing in it for women's tennis," Billie says. "I kept saying, 'No, Bobby, no."'

Undervalued in King's Eyes

Margaret couldn't resist the bait. At first, hardly anyone knew that she had accepted Bobby's invitation. Then she and Billie shared a ride in an elevator at the Virginia Slims in Detroit.

"I'm going to play Bobby Riggs," Margaret mentioned as they inched down the shaft.

"That's not enough," Billie countered, "and, secondly, this is not about tennis."

"What do you mean? I'm about to get $10,000."

"Margaret, I'm just going to ask one thing of you: You have to win this match." Margaret nodded politely. Too politely.

"No, I mean it. You have to win this match. You have no idea how important this is."

Billie understood what Margaret couldn't grasp: With critics starting to assail Title IX, with companies still treating working women as credit liabilities and maternity risks, with the credibility of feminists on the line, the consequences of a loss to Bobby could be dire. However, as Billie would later point out, "Margaret didn't see the big picture."

A large, malleable national television audience was expected to watch Margaret's match against Bobby. Billie knew this was no time for a woman to fall apart. The problem was, several early-round losses in the late sixties had earned Margaret a reputation for emotional fragility. Whether it was justified or not, nearly every player on the tour thought of Margaret as someone who collapsed under pressure -- a choker.

"Our reputation is at stake, and I'm afraid Bobby will win," Billie told the press days before the match. "Here is an old jerk who dyes his hair, waddles like a duck and has trouble seeing. We have nothing to gain."

Seeing Beneath the Bravado

Billie was familiar with the puckish, if not outright devilish, interior hidden behind Bobby's ham-handed persona. Born 26 years after Riggs, reared just a few miles from his public park haunts in Los Angeles, Billie had heard the folk tales of his crafty tactics and unquenchable taste for action. She knew he was a great competitor, an esteemed former Wimbledon champion, and an ace pool-hall hustler disguised in tennis whites.

"I just thought, here is a man who has quite a big mouth," Margaret recalls.

You almost couldn't blame Margaret. Sheɽ never been manipulated by a man. But then sheɽ never met a man quite like Bobby Riggs.

He wasn't in tune with women and politics. But, one day, he opened his chops and out came a line that prompted a few giggles, and whetted his appetite for attention:

"C'mon, Billie. Let's play for some money."

Although the press took up his challenge, the players largely ignored Bobby -- until Margaret Court said, "Yes." Privately, she was annoyed that Billie had been Bobby's target when it was Margaret who had the best record on the tour.

"I've beaten better men than Bobby in practice matches," Court announced to reporters. Hardly the taunting type, she played the good sport and went along with Bobby's schemes to hype the event. The media lapped up the loudmouth.

"Call it the Match of the Century," Bobby spouted at a news conference in March to announce his match with Margaret on Mother's Day.

It was hyperbole with a purpose. Bobby was already applying pressure on Margaret's suspect nerves. This was Bobby's moment, and he didn't want to squander it by taking Margaret lightly. He worked out relentlessly. Bobby ran at least a mile a day around a school track near his Newport Beach digs.

Bobby's son Larry, the only one of his children who had excelled as a tennis player, teamed with Bobby's best friend, Lornie Kuhle, to oversee his father's diligent preparation for the match with Margaret.

"For three or four months, we're talking running every day, playing six hours of tennis a day," Larry says. "Train, train, train. He was playing the best tennis of his life."

Training by itself, though, couldn't push back the clock fast or far enough to suit Bobby. He needed a youth potion to match up with the 30-year-old Margaret. At 55, he sought out Rheo Blair, Hollywood's top nutritional guru. Under Blair's supervision, Bobby adopted a diet of protein, dairy products and 415 vitamins a day. "No Booze, No Broads, Vows Bobby," the headlines read.

Bobby's base of operation was the Park Newport condo complex, where he was the tennis director of a swinging singles California enclave for the Geritol set. To promote his match with Margaret, Bobby all but ran an open house for the news media, working the room day and night.

His favorite T-shirt bore the acronym WORMS -- the World Organization for the Retention of Male Supremacy. He was always full of philosophical prose, which he doled out to media by the ladle.

"Margaret is an even-money bet. She plays like a man, I play like a woman."

"Women who can do. Those who can't become feminists."

Bobby's colorful comments had reach. From tennis diehards to the man on the street, they all pounced on every outrageous sentence the flimflam man uttered. In the 1970's, tennis sizzled and Bobby was its latest walking, ever talking marquee attraction. Now all he had to do was win. Bobby scouted Margaret, taking copious notes while following her around the Virginia Slims circuit. Then he candidly laid out his plan for beating her: serve her the soft stuff, throw off her power with spins, upset her rhythm with drop shots, wear down her patience with lobs.

From Lubbock to Las Vegas, the more Bobby chattered, the more folks he convinced. Jimmy the Greek, the oddsmaker of the moment, made Riggs the 5-2 favorite. But the more Bobby talked up his tactics, the more Margaret laughed off his jibes and quips as she continued to win on the tour.

"I am not carrying the banner for Women's Lib," she declared.

Her indifference to the hype befuddled Bobby. Why wasn't Margaret reacting? Wasn't she worried? Then Margaret took off the week before the match to practice with her part-time coach Dennis Van der Meer. Special workouts with Van der Meer hmmm she was feeling the pinch, Bobby thought. Sempurna.

Two days before the match, Margaret, Barry, and their 14-month-old son, Danny, made the journey through the gaunt wilderness to San Diego Country Estates.

"With all the shouting and all the showbiz," Margaret says, "I guess I was shocked."

She had barely fought through the swarm of photographers when Bobby began trying his best to crack her cool. "Do you realize, Margaret," Bobby chimed above the fray, "that this is the most important match ever played? Just think how many women are counting on you."

Margaret appeared unruffled by whatever Bobby cooked up. She treated her opponent cordially, for the most part, and even seemed to find him amusing. She got into the spirit of the event by sticking a popular button on Danny's bib: "Women's libbers speak for themselves . Bobby Riggs -- Bleah!"

The night before the match, everyone convened in the dining area for one last supper, as Bobby called it.

"The eyes and ears of the world are on me," Riggs howled. "I am the greatest money player in history."

The Court family dined quietly, alone on the other side of the room, removed from the carnival barker in their midst. During dinner, Danny turned his high chair into a snare drum, banging his spoon to his own beat. The rap was so loud, so unrestrained, and so obnoxious, Margaret couldn't help but note, "You make more noise than Bobby Riggs."

There it was. Bobby was inside Margaret's head. Just where he wanted to be.

Mother's Day morning started off inauspiciously in Margaret's suite. Danny had dumped his mom's only pair of tennis shoes into the toilet.

"It was the beginning of an interesting time," Margaret says.

At least her prized dress was dry. At her request, dress designer extraordinaire Ted Tinling had whipped up a pastel dress trimmed in the Aussie national colors of green and gold. Margaret's name was embroidered on each side of her collar. Here she was, a woman who usually sought invisibility, and she was all but wearing a vanity plate.

Margaret loped to the net to greet the 5-7 Bobby before the match, towering over him as if they were dates at an eighth-grade dance. Instead of a corsage, Bobby handed her a dozen roses as they met in front of CBS commentator Pat Summerall.

"For the nicest mother in tennis," Bobby grinned. "Happy Mother's Day."

Nasty little man, she thought. But to the world, Margaret did not seem the least bit offended. She curtsied in front of the cameras, almost blushing submissively. All week, tales of how she had dismantled Tony Trabert's power in practice had circled the grounds. But that, Bobby believed, was the wrong preparation. She should have been practicing against a beginner.

His strategy worked right from the start. Bobby immediately rendered the circuit's most dominating female force into a weekend hacker by dinking his serves, punching drop shots and lobbing the ball into the afternoon sun. Flummoxed in the face of Bobby's underwhelming attack, her confidence evaporated as the pressure on her built.

She tumbled into Bobby's trap. He had made a career out of waiting for an opponent's mistake. Connecting on just 18 of 37 first serves, Court's collapse happened at flashbulb speed.

Meanwhile, Billie Jean King had nearly missed the match entirely. After stepping off a plane on a layover in Hawaii between Tokyo and L.A., Billie, her secretary Marilyn Barnett, and fellow tennis star Rosie Casals raced through the terminal, frantically looking for one of those coin-operated TV sets attached to the chairs in the waiting areas.

At last they found a vacant one. Nothing but "Gunsmoke" reruns. Finally, they heard the result on Rosie's radio. In just 57 minutes Bobby had dismantled Margaret, 6-2, 6-1.

Billie was beside herself. She knew Margaret's loss would not only be used to undermine the fight for equal pay on the tour, it would also provide an easy caricature for political cartoonists. She marched through the terminal, incensed and motivated. "That's it," she thought. "I've got to play him." Billie phoned her husband and said, "Larry, now we've got something to prove."

On TV, the nation saw Bobby hop the net in California to embrace Margaret after a match that tennis devotées still remember as The Mother's Day Massacre. Bobby's instinct for timing kicked in instantly. In front of the post-match press, he voiced his favorite male fantasy.

"Now I want King bad. I'll play her on clay, grass, wood, cement, marble or roller skates," he declared. "We got to keep this sex thing going. I'm a woman specialist now."

During interviews Bobby flapped his lips again and again to issue yet another challenge to Billie: "I want her, she's the Women's Libber leader."

Far too late, Margaret recognized the magnitude of her match with Bobby. "It was one of my mistakes," Margaret wistfully says now.

This hadn't been a tennis event, but a human saga between the sidelines this hadn't been a casual Sunday hit, but a political proving ground for gender. Billie would have Margaret's political ignorance to thank for spinning her destiny into motion. In essence, Margaret was a matchmaker. Bobby had been waiting for a gal like Billie all of his life.

This article is an adaptation from "A Necessary Spectacle: Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, and the Tennis Match That Leveled the Game," (Crown) by Selena Roberts about the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes," which was more about gender, politics, theater and equal pay than tennis. It is often forgotten that without Riggs's humiliation of the mighty Margaret Court, King-Riggs would have never happened.


Billy Jean King

During his initial challenge to female tennis players, Riggs has originally wanted to play Billie Jean King. By 1973, King had already won 10 major singles titles but had repeatedly turned him down, not wanting to indulge the showman having been a strong advocate for gender equality and social justice.

But following his win over Court, Riggs had been in the national limelight and continued to taunt female tennis players. King eventually accepted the challenge as well as a lucrative offer which involved King taking on Riggs in a nationally televised match on prime time ABC. The match was dubbed the ‘Battle of the Sexes.’

A prize of $100,000 was set for the match with the winner taking all. Riggs hyped the contest in press conferences and in the media with a plethora of misogynistic comments, including “the best way to handle women is to keep them pregnant and barefoot,” exclaiming, “I’ll tell you why I’ll win. She’s a woman and they don’t have the emotional stability.” Riggs also promised to jump off a bridge if he lost declaring, “women belong in the bedroom and kitchen, in that order.” King, though attempting to keep things playful, responded by calling him Riggs a ‘creep.’


The True Story Behind the Battle of the Sexes Film

T he 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was a spectacle made for Hollywood. King was at the top of her game, the first female player to win over $100,000 in a year. Riggs was an over-the-hill showboat and self-declared chauvinist pig with a gambling problem. Riggs hoped for one last minute of fame, King to prove that women deserved as much prize money and respect as men.

Ninety million people tuned into “The Battle of the Sexes,” and 44 years later Emma Stone and Steve Carrell are bringing the match to the big screen. The movie details both the on-court drama and the behind-the-scenes turmoil affecting the two tennis legends. The married King had recently begun an affair with a woman, while Riggs was struggling to connect with his family. Here’s what the movie got right about the historic game that made King an icon &mdash and what the filmmakers exaggerated.

Fact: Billie Jean King came into conflict with Jack Kramer

Once a tennis champ himself, Kramer (Bill Pullman) was running the Pacific Southwest Tennis Tournament in 1970. That tournament offered women just 15% of the prize money that it awarded the men, despite that the women’s final sold as many tickets as the men’s final did. King challenged Kramer about the pay gap, and when he would not agree to up the women’s prize money, King led a walk-out. She and several other women went on to create the Virginia Slims tour and later the Women’s Tennis Association.

Kramer and King came into conflict again three years later on the eve of the Battle of the Sexes game. Kramer was set to be a commentator for the game, and King threatened to call off the match at the last minute if Kramer wasn’t removed. She argued that he was biased against female tennis players. The network conceded to her demands.

Fact: Virginia Slims sponsored that women’s tennis tour

In retrospect, the cigarette company was probably not the best sponsor of an athletic tournament. But it was the only advertising money they could get. Sarah Silverman’s character, Gladys Heldman, did indeed arrange the Virginia Slims tour. She asked the players to sign symbolic $1 contracts before they had enough money to pay the players and then wrangled sponsors. The women were suspended by the USTA but when the women’s tour proved successful, the two tours merged again.

Once a tennis player herself, Heldman founded World Tennis magazine and supported female tennis players in their support for equal pay. Her own daughter, Julie, even joined the separate women’s tour.

Fact: Riggs played poker with his therapist

Fiction: King and Riggs were old friends

In the movie, the two tennis players seem to know each other well &mdash not only does Riggs call King in the middle of the night to challenge her to a match, but King dismisses the call as typical Riggs behavior. In reality, King says she barely knew the former champion, who was 25 years her senior.

However, after the Battle of the Sexes the two became friends and remained close until his death in 1995. King said she spoke to Riggs the day before he died, and they said “I love you” to each other.

Fact: King did initially turn Riggs down for the match

And he did then ask Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) to play him instead. Riggs defeated Court in the “Mother’s Day Massacre,” which changed King’s mind about playing Riggs.

King and Court really were rivals, their careers intertwined. King’s first major singles success came in 1972 when she upset the top-seeded Court in the second round of Wimbledon. For the next decade, they competed for the top spot of the women’s rankings. Over the course of their careers, Court won 24 majors, and King just 12. That made King’s ability to defeat Riggs after the Mother’s Day Massacre extra sweet.

Fact: Margaret Court is opposed to same-sex marriage

The conservative tennis player has publicly called same-sex relationships “a lust for the flesh.”

Fact: During the “Battle of the Sexes,” Billie Jean King was involved with her hairdresser

The affair really did take place in the period before the Battle of the Sexes. King’s relationship with hairdresser Marilyn Barnett later became public in 1981 when Barnett sued King for a share of the tennis player’s property. In the suit, Barnett argued that because she gave up her career as a hairdresser to become a secretary, confidante, cook “and all other things necessary so that Mrs. King’s energy could be totally directed toward playing tennis,” under California law Barnett was due palimony, according to the Waktu New York.

King, who was still married to Larry King (Austin Stowell in the movie) at the time, initially denied the affair. But later that year she called a press conference in which she admitted her involvement with Barnett (Andrew Riseborough). “People’s privacy is very important, but unfortunately someone didn’t respect that,” she told Tribun Chicago. “I did have an affair with Marilyn, but it was over quite some time ago. I’m very disturbed and shocked that Marilyn would do this in such a selfish way.”

Billie Jean and Larry King divorced in 1987. King is now in a relationship with Ilana Kloss, also a former tennis player. She has since become a prominent booster for LGBTQ rights.

Fiction: Barnett showed up right before King’s match to give her a haircut

The scene in which Barnett runs out of her salon to find King and give her a confidence boost (and a haircut) right before her face-off with Riggs is Hollywood fabrication. The haircut did happen but in Los Angeles before King left for the match in Houston.


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