King led player efforts to support the first professional women's tennis tour in the s called the Virginia Slims, founded by Gladys Heldman and funded by Joseph Cullman of Philip Morris. Chris [Evert], Margaret [Court], Virginia [Wade], they let us do the pioneering work and they weren't very nice to us. If you go back and look at the old quotes; they played for the love of the game, we played for the money.
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When we got backing and money, we were all playing together — I wonder why? I tried not to get upset with them. Forgiveness is important. Our job was to have one voice and win them over. In , King became the first President of the women's players union — the Women's Tennis Association. The museum is the home of the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center , a comprehensive women's sports hall of fame and exhibit.
King and her then-husband Larry co-founded World Team Tennis in In , King was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Philip Morris Incorporated , garnering some criticism from anti-tobacco groups. This has been interpreted as a signal on gay rights, in the context of concerns and controversies at the Winter Olympics regarding LGBT rights in Russia. Betty Moffitt, King's mother, died on February 7, , the day of the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. Billie Jean was selected to deliver the Northwestern University commencement address on June 16, in Evanston, Illinois.
Margaret Court , who won more Grand Slam titles than anyone, has said that King was "the greatest competitor I've ever known".
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Chris Evert , winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, has said, "She's the wisest human being that I've ever met and has vision people can only dream about. Billie Jean King is my mentor and has given me advice about my tennis and my boyfriends. On dealing with my parents and even how to raise children. And she doesn't have any.
In , several top players were asked who they would pick to help them recover from a hypothetical deficit of 1—5 15—40 in the third set of a match on Wimbledon's Centre Court. Navratilova said, "I would have to pick Billie Jean at her best. Consistently, Chris [Evert] is hardest to beat but for one big occasion, one big match, one crucial point, yes, it would have to be Billie Jean.
King learned to play tennis on the public courts of Long Beach , California , and was coached by tennis teacher Clyde Walker. She was an aggressive, hard-hitting net-rusher with excellent speed,  Chris Evert , however, said about King, "Her weakness is her impatience. I'm a perfectionist much more than I'm a super competitor, and there's a big difference there I've been painted as a person who only competes But most of all, I get off on hitting a shot correctly.
Any woman who wants to achieve anything has to be aggressive and tough, but the press never sees us as multidimensional. They don't see the emotions, the downs Believe me, it's the best time in your life.
Don't let anyone ever tell you different. My only regret is that I had to do too much off the court. Deep down, I wonder how good I really could have been if I [had] concentrated just on tennis. Julie Heldman , who frequently played King but never felt close to her, said about King's personality,. One of the reasons I've never gotten close to Billie Jean is that I've never felt strong enough to survive against that overwhelming personality of hers. She talks about me being the smart one.
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Let me tell you, Billie Jean's the smartest one, the cleverest one you'll ever see. She was the one who was able to channel everything into winning, into being the most consummate tennis player. Kristien Shaw , another frequent opponent of King, said,. For a time, I think I was as close to Billie Jean as anyone ever was. But as soon as I got to the point where I could read her too well, she tried to dissociate the relationship. She doesn't want to risk appearing weak in front of anybody. She told me once that if you want to be the best, you must never let anyone, anyone, know what you really feel.
You see, she told me, they can't hurt you if they don't know. The difference between me at my peak and me in the last few years of my career is that when I was the champion I had the ultimate in confidence. When I decided, under pressure Even more than that; going into a match, I knew it was my weakest shot, and I knew in a tight spot my opponent was going to dare me to hit it, and I knew I could hit it those two or three or four times in a match when I absolutely had to.
Yes, but that's only the half of it. The champions play their weaknesses better The song was released New Year's Day and became a number one hit. Schulz , creator of the Peanuts comic strip, was an admirer and close friend. By , King realized that she was attracted to women ,  and in , began an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett born Marilyn Kathryn McRae on January 28, Billie Jean acknowledged the relationship when it became public in a May palimony lawsuit filed by Barnett, making Billie Jean the first prominent professional female to come out.
Feeling she could not admit to the extent of the relationship, Billie Jean publicly called it a fling and a mistake. Also in , she had an abortion that was made public in a Ms. I wanted to tell the truth but my parents were homophobic and I was in the closet. As well as that, I had people tell me that if I talked about what I was going through, it would be the end of the women's tour. I couldn't get a closet deep enough. One of my big goals was always to be honest with my parents and I couldn't be for a long time. I tried to bring up the subject but felt I couldn't.
My mother would say, "We're not talking about things like that", and I was pretty easily stopped because I was reluctant anyway. I ended up with an eating disorder that came from trying to numb myself from my feelings. I needed to surrender far sooner than I did. At the age of 51, I was finally able to talk about it properly with my parents and no longer did I have to measure my words with them. That was a turning point for me as it meant I didn't have regrets any more. Billie Jean and Larry remained married through the palimony suit fallout.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses. Home FAQ Contact. Billie Jean King Wikipedia open wikipedia design. American Tennis Player. For the Michael Jackson song, see Billie Jean. For the film, see The Legend of Billie Jean. Long Beach, California , U. Main article: Battle of the Sexes tennis.
Main article: Billie Jean King career statistics. Tennis portal Sports portal. Archived from the original on July 5, Retrieved July 4, International Business Times. Retrieved January 30, BBC Sport.
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January 28, Archived from the original on November 19, Retrieved February 15, Archived from the original on February 25, Retrieved June 29, The New York Times. Retrieved September 16, Retrieved on May 20, National Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 15, Archived from the original on August 29, Retrieved August 26, Archived from the original on December 24, Retrieved October 1, Philadelphia Magazine.
Retrieved September 30, May 23, Women's Tennis Association. Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis. Detroit, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 24, Haymarket Books.
February 16, Retrieved October 8, Retrieved September 27, My Life With the Pros. New York: E. New York: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved October 15, Archived from the original on December 9, Archived from the original on March 3, Starr, Cynthia; King, Billie Jean King, 4—6, 7—5, 6—0, to Gain Garden Tennis Final".
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Archived from the original on March 4, King Undergoes Successful Surgery". June 3, Independent Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. July 11, The Pocono Record. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. January 20, BBC News. June 11, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives. Billie Jean. New York, N. Archived from the original on June 25, Particular Passions: Billie Jean King.
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