Wednesday, August 28, 2013



(Found on

It appears that the famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King in 1973 was a setup to get Riggs out of some mob-related gambling debt.

Shaw's workroom was about 20 feet from the men, who sat at a circular table. Through the window to the darkened bag room door, he could see them, but they couldn't see him. Shaw says he was "petrified" as he tried to remain completely still, worrying that the men would find him lurking there. Then Shaw heard something he'd keep secret for the next 40 years: Bobby Riggs owed the gangsters more than $100,000 from lost sports bets, and he had a plan to pay it back.

Shaw, now 79, told the story of what he saw and heard that Tampa night to a friend late last year for the first time. This spring, he told it to "Outside the Lines."

The men, Shaw says, used an array of nicknames for Riggs -- "Riggsy," "BB," "Bobby Bolita." Ragano told the men that "Riggsy" was prepared to "set up two matches … against the two best women players in the world," Shaw says. "He mentioned Margaret Court -- and it's easy for me to remember that because one of my aunt's [sic] names was Margaret so that, you know, wasn't hard to remember -- and the second lady was Billie Jean King."
 This is hilarious.  I always knew there was something fishy about that match...anyone who has played at a competitive level of any sport knows the vast difference between men and women in speed and power, even at different levels.  I've heard that when the WNBA wants a good hard scrimmage, they go find a half-decent Division 2 high school boys varsity team.  The women win about 10-25% of the time.  The same is true of women's pro soccer, except it's more like a 15U boys team.

The difference is just too vast.  The Williams sisters thought they could beat a man "ranked around 200th" in 1998.  They couldn't - not even close:
Preparation is crucial. Remember that a game like this is light-hearted - taking it too seriously would be a mistake. My training regime consisted of a leisurely round of golf in the morning followed by a couple of shandies. I turned up on court feeling suitably laid-back.

My first game of the afternoon, just a one-set match, was against Serena. A hint: try and play your match somewhere quiet, where you're not going to be pestered by big crowds or lots of press - we were out on one of the back courts at Melbourne Park, No 17 I think it was. I felt so relaxed that I didn't even warm up properly. We started playing and I raced into a 5-0 lead.

At this point Venus turned up to watch. She had just finished a press conference after a quarter-final loss against Lindsey Davenport. In the end I won my game against Serena 6-1 but by the time we were at the net shaking hands, Venus was on court, ready to have a go against me as well. The game against Venus was very similar. I ended up winning 6-2.
Good stuff.