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Billie Jean King

  • American athlete
  • Born November 22, 1943

Billie Jean King (née Moffitt; born November 22, 1943) is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States' captain in the Federation Cup.


Everyone has people in their lives that are gay, lesbian or transgender or bisexual. They may not want to admit it, but I guarantee they know somebody.




Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquillity.




Champions keep playing until they get it right.




Be bold. If you're going to make an error, make a doozy, and don't be afraid to hit the ball.




In 1973, women got 59 cents on the dollar; now we are getting 74 cents on the dollar. In the area of finance and business, we are at 68 cents on the dollar.




A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.




In the seventies we had to make it acceptable for people to accept girls and women as athletes. We had to make it okay for them to be active. Those were much scarier times for females in sports.




It's just really important that we start celebrating our differences. Let's start tolerating first, but then we need to celebrate our differences.




There is no life for girls in team sports past Little League. I got into tennis when I realized this, and because I thought golf would be too slow for me, and I was too scared to swim.




When we reach the point where the women athletes are getting their pick of dates just as easily as the men athletes, then we've really and truly arrived. Parity at last!




Martina and I went through a very bad five years. Everything's very good between us now, but it was a long haul.




The old boy network is still very strong and very true. Just look at the stock exchange and how many men and women are there. It is still very much run by men.




I will tell you King's First Law of Recognition: You never get it when you want it, and then when it comes, you get too much.




It's fun to meet people from throughout the world who you don't have to explain yourself to.




Ever since that day when I was 11 years old, and I wasn't allowed in a photo because I wasn't wearing a tennis skirt, I knew that I wanted to change the sport.




When I was outed, it was like, That's done.




I wanted to use sports for social change.




No one changes the world who isn't obsessed.




I like entrepreneurial people; I like people who take risks.




I always liked co-ed events best so we have two men and two women on each team.




When they take surveys of women in business, of the Fortune 500, the successful women, 80% of them, say they were in sports as a young woman.




I knew after my first lesson what I wanted to do with my life.




Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever.




Men still get a lot more opportunity. It is still a big part of the old boy network. They have more companies they can get money from.




I love to promote our sport. I love grass-roots tennis. I love coaching. I love all parts of the sport. I love the business side.




I always wanted to help make tennis a team sport.




Women's sports is still in its infancy. The beginning of women's sports in the United States started in 1972, with the passage of Title 9 for girls to finally get athletic scholarships.




Sports are a microcosm of society.




I think younger players probably just think they are who they are-they don't think about coming out. Unless you're number one in the world, nobody cares, usually.




The main thing is to care. Care very hard, even if it is only a game you are playing.




It is very hard to be a female leader. While it is assumed that any man, no matter how tough, has a soft side... and female leader is assumed to be one-dimensional.




Women get the attention when we get into the men's arena, and that's sad.




Men can have a huge turnover of sponsorship and still survive a lot better than the women. But the women's ratings are better, at least at home in the United States than in the men's tennis.




I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.




Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life.




I used to be told if I talked about my sexuality in any way that we wouldn't have a tennis tour.



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