One of the greatest female athletes of all time, Billie Jean King, turned 80 on Wednesday.
The 12-time Grand Slam singles champion celebrated the milestone birthday by playing tennis and eating cake baked by her niece before thanking her supporters.
“Today I am 80 years young,” King said on X. “Relationships are everything. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by loved ones my entire life.
‘I look forward to every day. Having Ilana [her wife] by my side is my best gift,” King continued. ‘Creating opportunities for others makes me so happy. And I’m not done yet!’
The video King posted to X of her playing tennis shows her returning the ball with forehands and backhands reminiscent of her athletic prime.
Billie Jean King rises from her seat on a court at the tennis court named after her
King can still return the ball at age 80, more than 30 years after she officially retired from tennis
King celebrated the birthday with her niece (photo) and with eight candles on her cake
King already proved she has no plans to slow down when she appeared on FOX’s “The Masked Singer” earlier this fall.
She wore the “Royal Hen” costume and sang Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” which ironically was written about King.
King is also perhaps best known for winning the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ match against Bobby Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in 1973.
King won a total of Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles and 11 mixed doubles.
Twenty of the tennis legend’s Grand Slam titles were won at Wimbledon, tennis’ most hallowed ground.
But it’s New York City that pays tribute to the all-time greats, with the US Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows dedicated to her.
Michelle Obama hugs King during the opening ceremony of the 2023 US Open
The US Open celebrated King in Queens in August, with this year’s tournament marking the 50th anniversary of the Grand Slam becoming the first Grand Slam to award equal prize money to men and women – something King pioneered.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama was part of the ceremony at Arthur Ashe and introduced the 79-year-old tennis legend by recalling how King, the 1972 US Open champion, rallied her fellow female players to successfully threaten a boycott of the next year’s tournament. unless women were paid the same wages as men.
King vowed to never stop fighting to maintain that hard-won progress, to cheers from the star-studded crowd.
In 2009, King became the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.