Billie Jean King speaks to her role in gender equality

Pioneer for equality and former tennis great Billie Jean King spoke to Indiana University of Pennsylvania March 31. (Sean Yoder/ The Penn)

Billie Jean King, former No. 1-ranked American professional tennis player, spoke Monday night in Fisher Auditorium about how she made a difference in gender equality in sports and daily life.

During her tennis career, King won 39 Grand Slam titles and is often recognized for her victory against former World No. 1 tennis player Bobby Riggs in a notable tennis match called the “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973.

King said the “Battle of the Sexes” benefited both men and women.

“Most people forget that match was a victory for both genders,” King said.

King lobbed autographed tennis balls in a crowd of about 150 people during her hour-and-20-minute presentation.

“I love tennis; I love to hit the ball,” King said. “But I wanted to make a difference in the world off the court.”

King started the idea of mixed-doubles when she co-founded the coed professional tennis league World TeamTennis in 1974.

“When kids come to a World TeamTennis event, they see men and women playing together,” King said.

King answered questions from the audience and gave advice to a local high school student on how to perfect her serve.

“If you dream it, go for it,” King said.

To read the full story on Billie Jean King’s presentation, see Friday’s issue of The Penn