President Emmanuel Macron on Friday bestowed France’s highest order of advantage on the pioneering US tennis nice Billie Jean King, as she celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of her French Open victory.
“In 50 years you will have revolutionised worldwide sport, but additionally equality between ladies and men and the rights of minorities worldwide,” Macron stated on the Elysee Palace ceremony.
“Your historical past is an American dream, one in every of these destinies which can be virtually too good to be true,” he stated.
King, who’s attending this yr’s French Open at Roland Garros, was additionally honoured by the match organisers Thursday with a video of fellow legends saluting her title win on the 1972 match.
The next yr she made historical past by dominating Bobby Riggs within the “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition match, a key second because the push for girls’s rights gained floor.
King was additionally among the many Authentic 9 feminine gamers who defied tennis authorities by creating their very own girls’s circuit to denounce the massive discrepancy in prize cash and competitors alternatives in comparison with males.
That led the US open to start out providing the identical prize cash to girls as males in 1973, and paved the way in which for a wave of rich feminine superstars corresponding to Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
And in 1981, she withstood a fierce backlash after being outed as a lesbian and acknowledging her sexuality, a groundbreaking — and dangerous — stance for a world sports activities star.
“It was a really troublesome second, however I instructed the reality. And the subsequent day I misplaced all my sponsors,” she instructed French tv this week.
“I need to thanks for all the things you’ve accomplished for girls’s tennis and for girls,” Martina Navratilova stated within the French Open video.
“What an exquisite tribute. Thanks,” King responded in a tweet.