Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Queens of The Court: Billie Jean King – The Heart and Stomach of a King 5

Posted on November 22, 2009 by Marianne Bevis

Women's Professional Tenni is what it is today thanks to Billie Jean King

Women's Professional Tennis is what it is today thanks to Billie Jean King

A tribute to a personal heroine who celebrates her 66th birthday on 22nd November.


A first impression

What was it about one particular woman, wielding her wooden racket in the black and white world of 1960s television, that imprinted itself in this fan’s memory? She came from another country, and she played a game I had barely learned to understand, let alone master.

To me, she looked middle-aged even though still in her early 20s. She was ordinary in appearance but unusual in demeanor.

I knew nothing of her background nor of her achievements in tennis—other than she had just beaten the homely, and British, Ann Jones. But once I heard her name, I never forgot it.

Billie Jean King.

Her story has been simmering in the bloodstream ever since, because her name takes me back to my very first monochrome memories of tennis and of Wimbledon—for it was only Wimbledon that made its way into British living rooms back then.

These were impressionable years for a girl heading towards adolescence. It was the uncomfortable realisation that my mother seemed quite embarrassingly enamoured of the Santanas and Newcombes. It was also the uncomfortable realisation that King was being undermined by that mother’s slights about her appearance, her manner, and her attitudes.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Follow Us Online

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Current Poll

    Who is the Best Rookie Qurterback?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top