After 1962 the number one world women's title has rarely escaped Margaret Smith Court and Billie Jean Moffitt King. Their positions are opposite : Court is openly homophobic and King is a feminist activist who will be in 1981 the first sportswoman to publicly declare her homosexuality.
The first event gives right to Riggs : in May 1973 in a general indifference he beats Mrs Court on the ruthless score 6-3, 6-1.
Mrs King, who had not previously felt concerned by that challenge, is now unleashed. She wants to beat Riggs to promote the very recent Congressional amendment that ensures equal federal budgets for boys and girls in colleges. She even inflates the social stake : if she loses to Riggs, the equality of the sexes will recede by half a century.
On September 20, 1973 in Houston the match between Riggs and King is a big show attended by 30,000 spectators in the stadium and watched by 50 millions in broadcast. The passion of the woman supported her triumph : 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. For her action of a high consequence for the motivation of the girls and for the equality of the homosexuals, Mrs King receives in 2009 the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
One of the two racquets used by Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs is estimated $ 100K for sale by Bonhams in New York on December 6, lot 1068. The whereabouts of the other racquet are unknown.
SOLD for $ 125K including premium