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Bobby Riggs

Riggs, Bobby (Robert Larimore Riggs), 1918–95, U.S. tennis player, b. Los Angeles. Playing tennis from the age of 11, Riggs won several tournaments in the 1930s and helped the U.S. team win the Davis Cup in 1938. After winning the singles crown at Wimbledon (1939) and the U.S. National Championships (1939, 1941), he turned professional (1941). He won the national professional singles championship in 1946, 1947, and 1949. In May, 1973, he emerged from retirement as a professional tennis competitor to play Margaret Court, whom he defeated in a nationally televised winner-take-all match. Proclaiming the superiority of the male athlete over the female no matter what the age, he challenged Billie Jean King to a match. Riggs was soundly defeated (Sept., 1973) by her before a national television audience and 30,492 spectators in Houston.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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