Author: Adam

Billie Jean King: A Woman Who Wants a White Ball

Billie Jean King: A Woman Who Wants a White Ball

Billie Jean King’s ‘pet peeve’ is Wimbledon’s ‘horrible’ all white uniform policy; she was so disgusted that she left the Wimbledon tournament.

Author: E.J. Dyer

Published: 14:00 AM ET Fri, 15 Apr 2018

Updated: 10:22 AM ET Sun, 18 Jul 2019

WIMBLEDON, Britain – In March of 1968, the year of the Wimbledon final and the first time anyone had ever won the championship without a single white ball was running low, a then 20-year-old American tennis player named Billie Jean King came into a restaurant in London and told the waitress: “I just can’t take it anymore.” For the past decade, her life has been defined by her passion for tennis.

She grew up on a farm in Louisiana, the youngest of three children. She went to college as an actor and had never played tennis until she was 16 years old. As with almost everything in her life, she struggled to be in the spotlight.

In 1965, she won her first international singles title at the U.S. National Championships, and was ranked in the top 100 in the world at the time. But she lost to Margaret Court and was upset by Billie Jean. And in 1967, she defeated Margaret Court without much difficulty in the singles semi-finals.

Now, after 20 years and more than 100 Grand Slam championships, she was poised to win Wimbledon for the first time – and she wanted a white ball.

King, now 54, was a few weeks into her retirement from tennis in 2004 when she took an interest in how a Grand Slam tournament was run. The tournament’s all-white uniforms and no-frill courts bothered her – so much so that when she won the women’s singles at Wimbledon in 2009, she pulled out a yellow ball. King said she left the tournament shortly afterwards. She has never played Wimbledon again.

From a distance, she almost looks like an ordinary woman. In person, King resembles a movie star, with long dark brown hair and deep-set, thoughtful eyes. She moves with the energy of a high-priced athlete, like a movie star moving with a movie star’s grace, speed and power.

But to others, she’s a polarizing, media-shy competitor, who has given millions of dollars to education and has given hundreds of millions of

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