- Contact Us
A win for the ladies! According to History dot com, it was on this date in 1973, a tennis match between top women’s player, 29 year old Billie Jean King and 55 year old, former number 1 player Bobby Riggs. Riggs was a self-proclaimed male chauvinist an had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn’t handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King’s achievement not only helped legitimize women’s professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women’s rights in general. Listen to the podcast here; https://theriver953.com/lonnies-fun-fact/
Greetings from The (air-conditioned) Booth!
As the area is bogged down in a mid-90’s heat wave this week, equally as hot is one Kyle Schwarber of the Washington Nationals, who now has hit 12 home runs in his last 10 games, and has been a major reason why the Nats have now gone over the .500 mark and are closing fast on the first-place Mets.
Also happening this week is the “fortnight” known as Wimbledon, one of tennis’ major tournaments, held across the pond at the famed All-England Club. I don’t follow tennis much anymore, but this time of year always takes me back to the mid-70’s through the early 80’s, when Summer nights would find me at Martinsburg’s Oatsdale park with my Wilson T-2000 in the back of my Chevy Vega playing tennis well into the night. I bought all the tennis mags, and made sure I was wearing the Stan Smith Converse shoes, Adidas tennis wear, and accesorizing with head and wrist bands. If you can’t play well, you might as well look the part…
This era way a heyday for tennis, with names like Borg, McEnroe,Connors, Evert, Navratilova in their primes. I always made sure I was up early for “Breakfast at Wimbledon” on NBC, with the great Bud Collins providing the commentary. And let’s not forget the great rivalries, including John McEnroe versus Bjorn Borg. It was a rivalry that was called “Fire and Ice” because of McEnroe’s fiery temperament on the court, as opposed to the almost unemotional style of the Swede.
On July 4, 1981, the two met on the grass of Centre Court for the second year in a row. The year before, Borg and McEnroe played arguably the best tennis match in history, with Borg outlasting the New Yorker in a match that included an 18-16 tiebreaker, and an 8-6 final set.
A year later, McEnroe would end Borg’s five consecutive Wimbledon titles in a 4-set victory that lacked the drama of the 1980 Final. The two would meet later that year in the US Open, as McEnroe again defeated Borg. McEnroe and Borg met 14 times in all, with each winning 7 times. The sign of a truly great rivalry.
It was a great time to be a tennis fan, and a great American win in the UK on July 4, 1981…
Until our next visit in The Booth, stay cool, Happy Birthday USA, and GO HORNETS!