Bobby Riggs

BOBBY RIGGS (U. S. A.)

Born: 25/2/1918 Died: 25/10/1995

Wimbledon 1939

US Open 1939,1941

Pro Champion 1946,1947

US Pro 1946,1947,1949

Bobby Riggs will be remembered forever as an old man who lost a match to Billie Jean King in 1973 but he had already been a top player 35 years earlier. Riggs was a short, scrawny boy who did not hit his groundstrokes very hard and so was often disregarded as being a potential champion. Riggs didn't fit the bill of the perfectly turned out player with the right demeanour and the textbook game and faced a lot of prejudice from officials within the game because of this. What Riggs lacked in stature he made up for in craftiness. His trademark lob was a killer shot and at the age of just 19 he reached the semis of the 1937 U.S. Open losing to Gottfried von Cramm having led two sets to one. Two years later, in 1939, Riggs made his first trip to Europe. He reached the final at the French, losing to Donald McNeill in straight sets, and won Wimbledon, coming from 2 sets to 1 down to beat his doubles partner Elwood Cooke in the final. In the U.S. Open final Riggs beat the unseeded Welby Van Horn in straight sets. In the final of the 1940 U.S. Open Riggs led McNeill two sets to love but was on the receiving end of many dubious line calls and McNeill fought back to win 7-5 in the fifth set. Riggs took the title the following year beating Ted Schroeder in the semis before coming from a set down to defeat Frank Kovacs in the final. Then Riggs turned professional, though there was little action due to the War. In 1946 Riggs won a head to head tour against Don Budge by just two matches, bringing an end to Budge's dominance of the pro circuit. Riggs also beat Budge in the 1946, 1947 (in a thrilling contest) and 1949 US Pro finals. Before long Riggs was running the professional tour, though he soon handed over to Jack Kramer. In the late 1950s and 1960s Riggs spent most of his time on the golf course playing for money. Then he returned to tennis and challenged women's champion Margaret Court to a Battle of the Sexes match. Riggs thrashed Court 6-1,6-1 and announced his next target was Billie Jean King. In 1973 at the Houston Astrodome, the match took place. An overweight 55-year-old who kept himself fit on a diet of vitamins did not intimidate King. Though Riggs won the hype battle, King won the match in straight sets and Riggs disappeared back into obscurity. Riggs died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 77.

GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE

HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: J.Hunt 2-0, D.McNeill 0-2, F.Parker 1-0, T.Schroeder 2-0, G.von Cramm 0-1

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: D.Budge 4-4, P.Gonzales 0-2, L.Hoad 0-1, J.Kramer 0-2, F.Parker 1-0, K.Rosewall 0-1, P.Segura 0-1, T.Trabert 0-1

Bobby Riggs' Grand Slam record
Bobby Riggs' Pro Slam record

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