BILLIE JEAN KING

Billie Jean Moffitt King (b.1943), winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, is one of the world’s great sports heroes. By demanding equal treatment for women and equal treatment for all players King transformed the game of tennis.

King started playing tennis at age 11 on California’s public courts. Six years later she and partner, Karen Hantze, became the youngest women’s doubles champions at Wimbledon. The following year at Wimbledon King secured her place as a world-class player by defeating first-seeded Margaret Court. In 1964, as a junior at Los Angeles State College, King made the decision to commit to tennis full-time, launching a legendary sports career. Ranked No.1 in the world for five years, King used her aggressive serve-and-volley game to win all four Grand Slam singles events, 13 U.S. titles, and a record 20 Wimbledon titles.  Frustrated by “shamateur” tennis, King was a leader in the movement that opened competition to professionals in 1968. She campaigned for financial parity in women’s tennis by spearheading the professional circuit for women beginning with the Virginia Slims tour in 1971. In 1973 King trounced Bobby Riggs in the highly publicized “Battle of the Sexes,” a triumph for all women.

King retired from competition in 1984 but remained an indomitable force in tennis. Among her many activities she founded the World Team Tennis professional league, worked as a coach and television commentator, and championed college tennis scholarships for women.  In 1990 Life Magazine listed King among the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.”

Career Highlights

  • 39 Grand Slam titles (12 Singles, 16 Doubles, 11 Mixed Doubles)
  • Ranked in World’s Top 10 from 1960-1977; No.1 five times
  • Founder of Women’s Tennis Association (1973); Women’s Sports Foundation (1974); Professional World Team Tennis (1974)
  • U.S. Doubles Champion 1964, 1967, 1974, 1978, 1980
  • U.S. Mixed Doubles Champion 1967, 1971, 1973, 1976
  • First U.S. Women’s Singles Champion on all four surfaces
  • Wimbledon Singles Champion 1966-1968, 1972, 1973, 1975
  • Wimbledon Doubles Champion 1962, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970-1973, 1979
  • Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion 1967, 1971, 1973, 1974
  • French Singles Champion 1972, Doubles 1972, Mixed Doubles 1967, 1970
  • Australian Singles Champion 1968, Mixed Doubles 1968
  • U.S. Wightman Cup Team Member 1961-1967, 1970, 1977, 1978 (21-5 record)
  • Federation Cup Team Member 1963-1967, 1976-1979 (52-4 record)
  • Won 29 Virginia Slims Circuit titles 1970-1977
  • Defeated Bobby Riggs in historic match at Houston Astrodome 1973
  • First Woman Commissioner in Professional Sports (Team Tennis 1984)
  • Winner of USTA Service Bowl 1966
  • Inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame 1980, International Tennis Hall of Fame 1987, and National Women’s Hall of Fame 1990
  • Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine 1990
  • Named Female Teaching Pro of the Decade 1994
  • Named to “40 For the Ages” Honor Roll by Sports Illustrated in 1994