Based on a true story, The Battle of the Sexes, is a 2017 film starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. We tell you the plot and all the curiosities.
The battle of the sexes is the title of a film that, in 2017, told the true story of an event in its own historical way. Of a match of tennis which has remained in the legend not so much for purely sporting reasons as for media and socio-political reasons: the one that was played in 1973 between the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs (who in the 1940s had been a great champion, and three times the number 1 in the world), and who was still active in the world of tennis) and the 29-year-old Billie Jean King, one of the greatest female players of all time, winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, then number 2 in the world.
The battle of the sexes: tonight on tv
The battle of the sexes will air on tonight Thursday 8 October at 21.20 on Rai3.
In the role of Riggs and King there are Steve Carell ed Emma Stone, while the direction is signed by a couple of American directors who are husband and wife in life: Jonathan Dayton e Valerie Faris.
The battle of the sexes: the true story of a tennis match that has gone down in history
After abandoning his competitive career, Bobby Riggs had remained within the world of tennis, and was close to the president of the American tennis federation, Jack Kramer. Riggs was an inveterate gambler, a giant provocateur, one who shot her big, and had tailored the costume of a chauvinist pig character, in years when feminism made its voice heard and female players struggled for equal treatment. cheaper than male colleagues. In controversy against their claims, Riggs decided to bet that, even at his age, he would be able to beat any player by challenging Bille Jean King to play him. Kramer and the media immediately sensed the economic potential behind that shot, and so did the September 20, 1973 Riggs and King challenged each other at the Astrodome in Huston, Texas, in front of over 30,000 paying spectators and 90 million viewers who watched the match live on television. The match, played to the best of 5 sets, was won by King with a decidedly clear score of 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. However, the shadows of a planned defeat by Riggs soon fell on the victory of a recognized champion, for reasons related to the numerous and huge bets on the match and on the interests of the mafia around that round of money.
The battle of the sexes: the trailer
The other battles of the sexes
In reality, as the film with Emma Stone and Steve Carell also tells, the one between Riggs and King was not the first man-woman game played after the shots of the former American champion. Initially, in fact, Billie Jean King had refused to take part in the challenge, and her place was taken by Margaret Meade, who was the number 1 player in the world at the time. The Riggs-Meade match was played on May 13, 1973, in Ramona, California, and in that case – reason why doubts about a Riggs defeated so sharply by King a few months later were considered legitimate – it was the man who beat the woman with a sharp 6-2, 6-1 (in that case the best of three sets was played).
A third official “Battle of the Sexes”, which did not involve Riggs, was organized a venina years later, and played at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on September 25, 1992: they were confronted Jimmy Connors (who, at 40, was in the downward phase of her career, and at the end of the year turned out to be the 84th player on the ATP rankings) and another great champion like Martina Navrátilová, who was still number 1 in the world at the age of 35. Despite some changes to the rules, designed to benefit Navrátilová, Connors won, in the best of three sets, with a score of 7-5, 6-2.
Men versus women on the tennis court: a never-ending story
If those between Riggs e Meade, Riggs e King e Connors e Navrátilová are the three games that fall under the official definition of “Battle of the sexes”, the history of tennis is full of matches played between a man and a woman. One of the first, and best known, is the one that took place on May 27, 1921 in France between two legendary champions such as Bill Tilden e Suzanne Lenglen; in that case only one set was played, which Tilden won 6–0.
In 1975, to respond to the hype from the Riggs-King match, CBS organized a broadcast Challenge of the Sexes, in which mixed matches of various sports disciplines were disputed; for tennis they challenged each other Virginia Wade and Björn Borg (Wimbledon winners that year) e Ilie Nastase and Evonne Goolagong. The rules were changed to favor women and games played on a single set: the winners were Borg (6-3) and Goolagong (7-5).
Ten years later, in 1985, it popped up again Riggs, now 67, who paired with Vitas Gerulaitis (now at the end of his career) he played against the best female couple in circulation, formed by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. It was the latter who won the match with a score of 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Who knows what the champions of neo-feminism would say today in front of the circus set up by Yannick Noah, beloved champion of the 80s and 90s, who showed up in a skirt and bra under his shirt to play a friendly match in Brussels in December 2003 against the then number 1 in the world Justine Henin, accompanying each blow with effeminate movements. Noah won the match anyway, with a score of 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
Also Novak Djokovic, in 2013, played a bit of a fool during an exhibition match played in Beijing against the Chinese tennis player Li Na. It was she who won a miniset with ad hoc rules with a score of 3-2.
The battle of the sexes in streaming
For those who miss tonight’s first TV viewing of The battle of the sexes, the film will remain available in streaming his RaiPlay for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 14 after the broadcast. The film is also available for rent and for sale on Amazon Prime Video and other platforms.