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With the release of the new movie “Battle of the Sexes” coming on September 29th, this week’s show was all about the famous “Battle of the Sexes.” In a jammed packed show, Richard and Joe were joined by Valerie Ziegenfuss, a former female professional tennis player and Dolly Riggs, the daughter of Bobby Riggs.
Val started off as an amateur player at the beginning of the 1970s before turning professional. She is most famous for being one of the so-called “Original 9” along with eight of her fellow players, who rebelled against the United States Tennis Association in 1970. Their actions brought about the creation of a new tennis tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit, which was the basis for the WTA Tour.
In 1970 the top women tennis players started to become frustrated at the lack of equality within tennis in terms of prize money offered to male and female players. The publisher Gladys Heldman (founder of “World Tennis” magazine) offered up $5,000 of her own money which would allow the players to negotiate their own contracts. Ziegenfuss and the other players, including Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals (often referred to as the Houston 9 or Original 9), signed $1 contracts in the summer of 1970 and formed their own tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit. It was a turning point in gender equality in tennis. In 1973, at age 29 one of the Houston 9, Billie Jean King, won the Battle of the Sexes tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs.
During her career, Val Ziegenfuss reached the fourth round at the French Open (in 1972) and the US Open on two occasions (1969 and 1975). She reached one singles final the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma in 1972. She had far more success in doubles tournaments, with twelve doubles final appearances, including six tournament victories. She won a bronze medal in doubles in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City partnering with Jane Bartkowicz.
They were also joined by Dolly Riggs, the only daughter of Bobby Riggs’ 6 children. She currently is an artist living in San Luis Obispo California. She was invited to exhibit in the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum in 2012. It was the largest show ever assembled of International Women Artists. You can read more about her work and see her art at www.dorothyriggs.com.
Richard and Mari Muscio, and Joe Vecchio Attended the Premiere of Battle of the Sexes
Richard, Mari Muscio, and Joe had the opportunity to attend the premiere of Fox Searchlight’s new movie Battle of the Sexes opening in theaters nationwide on September 29th. Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, the movie chronicles the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles.
It was wholly appropriate that Richard attended the premiere. No one knows more about the historic tennis match than him. While the world’s eyes were focused on Bobby Riggs, the self-proclaimed “king of male chauvinist pigs,” and Billie Jean King, the defender of feminism, Richard Muscio saw the match through the headlines of the day — headlines he had carefully clipped and saved as Bobby Riggs’ scrapbook maker. Only years later would Muscio realize that Bobby Riggs, the man who said that women should belong in the kitchen, actually made America a more tolerant society. His autobiographical book, So What’s Your Play, about the “Battle of the Sexes” and the “Mother’s Day Massacre” chronicles these tennis matches through the eyes of Bobby Riggs young scrapbook maker, Richard Muscio.