The Battle of the Sexes


2013, 83 mins
Director: James Erskine, Victoria Gregory
Starring: Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs

In 1973 US tennis has-been Bobby Riggs enraged the feminist movement by claiming that women players weren’t capable of beating their male counterparts, and offered to play the then Wimbledon champion, Billie Jean King, as proof.

Erskine and Gregory’s witty and sharply observed account of the build-up to the ensuing match focuses as much on the disparities between King and Riggs – she the sparky 30-year-old at the top of her game, he a shameless huckster who hadn’t won a major title for two decades – as on the prevailing sexism of the sporting establishment.

The film includes telling archive footage and interviews with King, who is still active in tennis administration, as well as with many of the others involved in this landmark event.