Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Billie Jean King

1943-
From: United States: California
Fields: Sports
 
King, Billie Jean (Moffitt) (1943- ), American tennis player whose intense competitiveness, outspoken support for better treatment of women players, and victory (1973) over former men's star Bobby Riggs in an exhibition match were instrumental in increasing the popularity of women's tennis. She was born in Long Beach, California, and educated at Los Angeles State College (now California State College at Los Angeles). At age 18 King upset Margaret Smith Court-the world's leading women's tennis player-at Wimbledon (1962). By 1968 she had won three Wimbledon championships as well as the United States title and was the world's top-ranked women's amateur. In 1967 King became the first woman player since 1939 to win the triple crown of singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in both the British and American championships. In 1968 she won Wimbledon for the third consecutive year and also won the Australian Open. In 1971 she became the first woman athlete to earn $100,000 in a single year, a year that also saw her reclaim the U.S. Open title. The next year she took her only French championship. She won her fourth U.S. Open in 1974. She won two more straight Wimbledon crowns in 1972-73 and her sixth in 1975, when she retired from singles competitions, although she continued playing in team tennis (1973-78) and in doubles, in which she was a superb player, winning the Wimbledon title 10 times and the U.S. crown 5 times.

"King, Billie Jean" Microsoft® Encarta.
Copyright© 1995 Microsoft Corporation.


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