Tennis player Billie Jean King was honoured with the life achievement award.
One of the greatest female tennis players ever, Even the American, won 39 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles competitions.
King won the Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs and is an advocate for gender equality.
She is also the creator of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
“We all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us we all have an chance to share our own lives, our adventures and our vision for the future,” King explained.
“Each of us is an influencer, and to most of the athletes who have a stage, let us carry on to utilize the ability of our voices and our actions to inspire others.”
Speaking from Miami, three-time Sports Personality of the season Andy Murray said that she”was one of many most useful of all time on the court”, however that her achievements away from the court proved even more impressive.
“She has been a enormous advocate for women’s rights and equal rights and I presume that’s interpreted into tennisunlike a number of other sports,” he said.
“We’ve pretty equal prize money across the adult men’s and women’s tours, and that’s very important. She advocated for that probably 30-40 years ahead of her time which is one of the very notable things.
“She is somebody who stood up for what she believed. Eventually our game has shifted for the better by doing that, although I imagine at that time she moved through a lot. More athletes should simply take her lead.”
King turned professional in 1959 and gained recognition when she and Karen Hantze Susman became the youngest pair to secure the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon.
She retained her Wimbledon titles in 1967 and 1968 – the years in which she also won her first US Open and Australian Open singles titles .
In total, King won a record 13 US Open in addition to 20 Wimbledon titles, two Australian Open crowns and four Open between 1979 and 1961. She collected three Grand Slam titles in one year in 1972.
129 singles titles were also won by her . She won seven Fed Cups because the captain of the US team as a person and four.
King retired from tennis at 1983.
Fight for equality and social justice
Away from the court, King in 1971 became the first female player to earn more than $100,000 in prize money, also was a pioneer in campaigning for equal prize money in golf.
Back in 1973the US Open became the first important championship to provide equal prize money for men and women.
Her campaigning did not end there, though, and through the duration of the 1970s – that the elevation of her years – she led player efforts to encourage the creation of their first professional women’s tour also became the president of the WTA.
Back in 1974, along side then-husband Larry King, she started the Women’s Sports Foundation, which works to ensure all girls have access.
Perhaps the moment at King’s fight for equality within baseball was her 1973 exhibition match against the numberone Riggs of men.
Riggs, who won three Grand Slam singles titles at the 1930s and 1940s, was a self-proclaimed chauvinist and’d promised that the women’s match was poor to the men’s.
After challenging and beating 24-time Grand Slam singles champion Margaret Court, Riggs contested King to play with with him .
Dubbed the Battle of the Sexes, the King-Riggs match happened in Texas in front – making it that the most most-watched baseball match of all time.
King beat Riggs 6-4 6-3 6-3 and the match was considered a significant event in garnering greater respect for women’s tennis.
The Battle of the Sexes was that the main topic of this 20 17 picture of the identical name, in which Oscar winner Emma Stone played King.
- Elected to the Global Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987
- At the home of the US Open Grand Slam tennis championship was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at 2006
- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barackobama at 2009
Billie Jean King’s speech at full
I would like to thank everybody at the BBC with this life achievement award as well as also for adding me in this historical evening.
This region of the planet has played a significant role in my own life and also my career. I won my first national championship in 1963 at the Open and I won my own final professional WTA Tour name right here in Birmingham in 1983.
Next year, I will be going to Wimbledon again. It will probably undoubtedly be of going my consecutive year. It’s just like a second home for me personally.
I played tennis in 1-1, and the next time I picked up a racquet I knew I needed to be the number one player in the world also to win Wimbledon.
In 12I had an epiphany while sitting at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. Everyone who played played in white shoes clothes, played tennis balls and everyone who played tennis was white.
In 12I asked myselfwhere is everyone else? From that minute, I committed myself to fight for inclusion and equality .
In 13I had the chance of watching the great Althea Gibson play. She had been the first black player to ever win a significant name – that the French in 1956 – and for the first time I saw that which was the main player at the world appeared to be. That’s how good you have to be.
If you’re able to see it, then you could be it.
Most of us stand on the shoulders of those that came before us now we all have an chance to share our own lives, our adventures and our vision for the future.
We all is an influencer, and to most of the athletes who have a stage, let us carry on to utilize the ability of our voices and our actions to inspire the others.
Thank you a lot for to night.