How Billie Jean King Led the Equal Pay for Play Battle
Published to History.com on June 3, 2021
Whether long-time American legend Serena Williams, Japanese hotshot Naomi Osaka or Canadian sensation Bianca Andreesu captures the title at a tennis Grand Slam tournament these days, one thing’s for sure: The women’s players will get the same prize money as the men’s winner.
But that wasn’t always the case. The Open Era of tennis that we know today started in 1968, allowing professionals and amateurs to compete together for prize money. The gap between the two genders was blatant from the start, with the 1970 men’s winner Ilie Nastase earning $3,500 while Billie Jean King got $600.