Born in Long Beach, California her original name was Billie Jean Moffitt. She began playing tennis at age 11 and enjoyed success from age 15 when she won the S California championship in her age group. She won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, including singles in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, and 1975. She was the U.S. Lawn Tennis women's singles champion in 1967, 1971, 1972, and 1974. In 1973 she defeated Bobby Riggs in a “battle of the sexes.” An aggressive, hard-hitting competitor, she turned professional in 1968. Very active in the women's rights movement, particularly in the area of equality of wages, in the 1970s she was one of the founders of the Women's Tennis Association and cofounded a magazine, Womensport.
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