Was the 'Battle of the Sexes' tennis match fixed? | The Tylt
Was the 'Battle of the Sexes' tennis match fixed?
When Billy Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes," people rejoiced in the downfall of the self-described chauvinist pig. However, almost 45 years after the match took place, there is a popular theory that King's win was a gift from a man with a gambling problem.
ESPN investigative reporter Don Van Natta got a tip from a 79-year-old friend in Florida who claims he was working at a golf course when mobsters broke in and discussed Bobby Riggs' debt to the organization in 1973. The conversation turned to how Bobby Riggs was going to pay off the debt—fixing a tennis match.
Not that it was a surprise to anyone. Riggs was an infamous gambler and never passed an opportunity to make a quick buck. It was also suspicious the same year he was beaten by King, he defeated World No. 1 Margaret Court in straight sets. If it smells like a fix, it is a fix.
Why do people want to cheapen the achievements of women? Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs after he gloated and boasted about women being the weaker sex, and shut every misogynist up for at least a few seconds. Even though she was successful, you have people who want to take that away from her and women everywhere.
Lornie Kuhle, a long-time friend of Riggs, had some choice words for Van Natta when he even suggested that the match was fixed:
I looked at him and told him it was the most far-fetched story I’d ever heard. Why would four mafia guys be in a golf pro shop at midnight? Why is the golf pro in there at midnight? I asked him, ‘Do you believe this bull——? I told him if he was looking for a scandal, there’s not one here. It was a real match and he got beat. Bobby didn’t purposely throw the match — it’s demeaning to the match and it’s all complete bull——.
Billie Jean King also put out a statement regarding the story:
This story is just ridiculous. I was on the court with Bobby and I know he was not tanking the match. I could see in his eyes and body language he wanted to win. People need to accept he had a bad day at the office -- just as Margaret Court did when she played Bobby. It was 40 years ago and I won the match and I am 100% sure Bobby wanted to win as badly as I did. Those who bet against me lost money but the result is the same today as it was 40 years ago.
Riggs wouldn't have sequestered himself from the public after the match if he didn't legitimately lose the match. Don't take this victory away from King. The match was real.