Billie Jean King is one of the most illustrious and celebrated tennis players in history. A trailblazer, she is famous the world over for spearheading the women's movement in tennis and for her lifelong struggle for equality in women's tennis. In 1990, Life magazine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century." In 1994, she was ranked No. 5 on Sports Illustrated's "Top 40 Athletes" list for her role in significantly altering and elevating sports over the last four decades.
Billie Jean King is one of the most celebrated and successful tennis players in history. She is famous for leading the women's movement in tennis.
In 1990, Life mag azine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century." In 1994, she was ranked No. 5 on Sports Illustrated's "Top 40 Athletes" list for her role in significantly altering and elevating sports over the last four decades. In 1997, she was honored at the White House with the presti gious Flo Hyman Award, and she also won the "Player Who Makes a Differ ence Award" from Family Circle.
Billie Jean won a record 20 Wimbledon titles. She was ranked No. 1 in the world five times between 1966 and 1972, and was in the Top 10 for a total of 17 years (beginning in 1960). She has had a career of firsts. In 1968, she was the first woman of the open era to sign a pro contract. In 1971, she was the first woman athlete to win more than $100,000 in any sport. She is the only woman to ever win the U.S. Open singles titles on all four surfaces on which it has been played (grass, clay, carpet, and hard courts). She is also one of only eight women to hold a singles title in each of the Grand Slam events. In 1984, she became the first female commissioner in professional sports history (for World TeamTennis), and in 1974, she became the first woman to coach a co-ed team in professional sports (the Philadelphia Freedoms of World TeamTennis).
Her many other accomplishments include winning 13 U.S. Open titles, one Australian Open title, four French Open titles, and 695 career singles victories. She was ranked in the U.S. top ten for a total of 18 years, and ranked No. 1 on the U.S. doubles list for 12 years. She currently holds the record for the most total wins in Federation Cup play, including 27 consecutive doubles matches.
In 1973, she won a "Battle of the Sexes" match, defeating Bobby Riggs in a nationally televised event at Houston's Astrodome that still holds the record for the most people (30,472) to ever attend a single tennis match. In 1979, she teamed with Martina Navratilova to win the Wimbledon doubles title, and break the record for most career wins at Wimbledon (now 20). Billie Jean was captain of the U.S. Federation Cup Team which won the title over Spain in 1996. She also coached the U.S. Federation Cup Team in 1998, and the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women's Tennis Team.
She is co-founder of World TeamTennis, and has been its director since 1985. She founded the World TeamTennis Professional League in 1981, the Women's Tennis Association in 1973, and the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974. She does color commentary at Wimbledon for HBO, and is also the national ambassador for AIM, a charity for handicapped children.
Billie Jean King has co-authored five books: Tennis To Win (with Kim Chapin, 1970), Billie Jean (with Kim Chapin, 1974), Tennis Love: A Parent's Guide To The Sport (with Greg Hoffman, 1978), Billie Jean (with Frank Deford, 1982), and We Have Come a Long Way: The History of Women's Tennis (with Cynthia Starr, 1988).
Billie Jean King resides in Chicago, Illinois. She serves on the board of directors for the Women's Tennis Association, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and the National AIDS Fund, and is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame.