In tennis, the term ‘Battle of the Sexes’, describes various exhibition matches played between a man and a woman.
This term was coined famously for a nationally televised match on 21 September, 1973, between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.
The match was held at the Houston Astrodome in front of 30,000 spectators and attracted a televised audience of around 90 million people.
This match was seen as a landmark for public perception and acceptance of women’s tennis.
Riggs was a former Wimbledon singles and doubles champion and had retired from playing in 1951 aged 55.
However, in an act of male chauvinism he said that he was still better than any female player, and could subsequently defeat any woman on the court.
He challenged the then, women’s number one, Margaret Court, and the two faced each other in California in May 1973 and Riggs was able to win the game 6-2, 6-1.
Riggs openly challenged other women to try and beat him – and as such – up stepped Billie Jean King.
King was carried into the arena on a throne carried by four men dressed as slaves, while Riggs was brought in on a rickshaw pulled by barely-clothed women.
The match panned out with Riggs leading the first set by four games to two.
But the tie swung in King’s favour as she adopted a baseline game by wearing down her opponent by forcing him to run and wear him down.
As a result, she would ease to victory in three straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
She won the $100,000 (£75,000) winner-takes-all prize, presented by world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman.
After the match Riggs said: ‘She was too good, too fast. She returned all my passing shots and made great plays off them.’
King said that victory was for the good of women’s tennis: ‘I wasn’t just playing for myself, this was for everybody… I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win.’