Billie Jean King changed the course of women's tennis with her win over Bobby Riggs in 1963. However, it wasn't the first (or only) notable male vs female tennis exhibition match played, as discussed on Goals on Film.
Below are some of the occasions where men and women faced each other on the tennis court in an exhibition match.
Ernest Renshaw v Lottie Dod (1888)
The first documented male vs female tennis match, both Wimbledon champions of 1988 faced off in a handicap match following the Grand Slam event.
Despite Dod starting each game with a 30-0 advantage, she lost to Renshaw, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, in Exmouth, England. Dod did however beat Scottish champion,Harry Grove, 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, and William Renshaw, 6-2, 6-2, under the same rules in the aftermath.
Bobby Riggs v Margaret Court (1973)
After Court had become the women's world number one, Riggs - who had been out of the circuit for a number of years - challenged Court, sprouting the opinion that men's tennis was far superior to the women's game and that even at 55 years of age, could beat any female tennis player.
The match, played on Mother's Day in Ramona, California, was billed the 'Mother's Day Massacre' as Riggs comphrensively beat Court, 6-2, 6-1.
Bobby Riggs v Billie Jean King (1973)
After first declining Riggs' offer but upon seeing him beat Court, KIng accepted her opponent's challenge, realising that she had to win for women's tennis and women's liberation as a whole.
After falling 3-2 in the first set at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, King came back to win in straight sets at the, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, marking an important landmark moment in women's tennis and the views and opinions of it.
Jimmy Connors v Martina Navratilova (1992)
Entitled 'The Battle of the Champions', the match was slated to be against Connors and women's world number one, Monica Sales. However, Navratilova, who had initially turned down offers from John McEnroe and Ilie Năstase, agreed to play Connors, calling it a battle of egos.
The match between Connors and Navratilova was played under hybrid rules, with the former only allowed one serve per point, and the latter allowed to hit into half of the doubles alleys. Despite this, Connors claimed victory, 7-5, 6-2.
Karsten Braasch v the Williams sisters (1998)
During the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Venus and Serena Williams had claimed they could beat any male player inside the top 200. Therefore, Braasch, then ranked 203, challenged each of them.
Braasch - who said he was playing like someone ranked 600 - won 6-1 over Serena and 6-2 against Venus. In the aftermath of the defeats, the Williams sisters modified their claim to state that they could beat any male player outside the top 350.
For more on this discussion and other talking points on 2017 biographical tennis drama, Battle of the Sexes, including the history behind the iconic match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs and the outcome of King's win, how much detail went into depicting the time including the style of play and the clothing, other male vs female showcase matches, and how Steve Carell's name should be up there with Hollywood's A-listers, listen to Goals on Film on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
For all the other shows on Edge of the Crowd’s podcast network including Ascending Olympus, you can visit here.
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