The US Tennis Association (USTA) paid tribute to legendary tennis player Billie Jean King by renaming the US National Tennis Center in her honor last week. King, who touts an impressive 39 Grand Slam titles, garnered fame for her triumph in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes,” in which she beat the number-one ranked tennis player Bobby Riggs, also a well-known male chauvinist. Following her rise to fame, she spent years promoting equality in girls and women’s sports, including advocating for the passage of Title IX and equity in prize money for men and women’s sporting events.
“Billie Jean King is a great champion, but she’s used her success to do a lot more than impact the sport. She’s impacted society. There are thousands of kids who have benefited. She’s an American hero,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA chief executive of professional tennis, according to CBS Sportsline.
The opening ceremony for the 2006 US Open last Monday officially marked the renaming of the famed tennis tournament’s arena to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The arena is used for the US Open and for 65,000 recreational players year-round.