What Happened on May 13th – The First Battle of the Sexes

A great look at a tennis event that transcended tennis


The women’s liberation movement was beginning and on May 13, 1973, tennis stars Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court faced off in a $10,000 winner-take-all challenge match. Bobby Riggs was 55-years-old and a tennis champion from the late 1930s and 40s.  He was known to be skeptical of women’s talents on the tennis court. The event was branded the “battle of the sexes.”   It was Mother’s Day and the match was televised internationally.  It was held on Riggs’ home turf, the San Vincente Country Club in Ramona, California, northeast of San Diego and proceeds were promised to the American Diabetes Association.

Bobby Riggs vs. Margaret Court Bobby Riggs vs. Margaret Court

Bobby Riggs had originally proposed a male-female match-up to Billie Jean King, whom he dubbed the “leading women’s libber of tennis.” King ignored the offer, but Australian Margaret Court, who had won 89 of her last 92 matches and was the leading money-winner on the women’s professional tour, accepted. Leading up to the match, Riggs loudly and…

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