The biggest crowd ever to watch a tennis match -- 30,472 -- saw Billie Jean King defeat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas on Thursday (September 20th).
The biggest crowd ever to watch a tennis match -- 30,472 -- saw Billie Jean King defeat Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas on Thursday (September 20th). The 29-year-old five-time Wimbledon Champion attacked relentlessly behind her strong service, passing the favoured Riggs time and again with daring cross-court placements.
Despite the difference in their ages, the 55-year-old Riggs was widely favoured to overwhelm Mrs. King, as he had Australia's Margaret Court last May in the first "Battle of the Sexes".
The 100,000 Dollar (40,000 Sterling) winner-take-all battle seen by an estimated 25 million television viewers in 40 countries, was not one-sided, despite the scores. Riggs and Mrs. King were level through the first seven games of each set, but Billie Jean went on to win the crucial points in the remaining games of each set.
Riggs, who apparently had underestimated Mrs. King, said he would do better next time. Mrs. King was non-committal, despite a contract clause calling for a return match, Riggs, who won the first of his U.S. titles and the Wimbledon Championship in 1939, five years before Mrs. King was born, praised Mrs. King for "playing brilliantly", but said his defeat was "one of my biggest disappointments."
SYNOPSIS: Billed as the "Battle of the Sexes" and the "Match of the Century", the encounter in the Astrodome at Huston, Texas was more than just a tennis match. Billie Jean King, 29, five-time Wimbledon Champion and twice American Champion, was matched against 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, who won the first of his two U.S. championships and the Wimbledon Championship in 1939, five years before Mrs. King was born.
Despite the difference in their ages, Riggs was widely favoured to win the 100,000 dollar winner-take-all purse.
From the first, Billie Jean attacked relentlessly. Supremely confident, she charged to the net behind her strong service, and hammered back Riggs' best shots.
In game after game, Riggs held level, only to lose the crucial point against Mrs. King's brilliant vollies and daring cross-court placements. Riggs was visibly ground down, until his final backhand went into the net.
Mrs. King won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, Riggs asked for a re-match but the victorious Mrs. King was non-committal.