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Billie Jean and Martina: Now and Then

Billie Jean King posted this photo today and herself with Martina Navratilova at this year’s Wimbledon. These are the two most heroic figures in women’s sports history in my opinion. Billie Jean was the leader is establishing the women’s tour in the early 1970s and has never given up the fight for equal treatment and opportunity for all. Martina was out publicly in 1981 when no top athlete at the top of their sport had ever done so before. Not many have followed her and what makes it all the more remarkable was that Martina won 16 of her 18 grand slam singles titles as an out woman who played on her own terms despite sometimes hostile crowds – especially when she faced America’s sweetheart Chris Evert.

In 1979, Martina and Billie Jean were a top doubles team and when they won the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon that year, it enabled Billie Jean to set the all-time record for most Wimbledon crowns overall in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Many years later, Martina would tie Billie Jean’s record with 20 titles overall.

Remarkable women on and off the court.

FILE UNDER: Tennis

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