Tennis legend Billie Jean King will be inducted to the Professional Tennis Registry’s Hall of Fame Wednesday night on Hilton Head Island.
King’s induction will take place at the 2016 PTR International Tennis Symposium’s awards banquet.
She is the PTR Hall’s fifth inductee, joining Dennis Van der Meer, Jim Verdieck, Dr. Jim Loehr and last year’s inductee, Arthur Ashe.
King won 39 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. Her playing ability and activism caught the eye of another Wimbledon champion -- and self-proclaimed male chauvinist — Bobby Riggs, who challenged King to a match that became the famed Battle of the Sexes.
Her victory was a victory for the women’s rights movement. King’s coach at the time was PTR founder, Dennis Van der Meer.
King was the first tennis player and first female to be presented the Sportsman of the Year Award by Sports Illustrated. In 1975, she was one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year, and Seventeen readers named King the most admired woman in the world.
Life Magazine named King one of the 100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century. The only other sports figures on the list are Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali.
She is the first woman to have a major sports venue named in her honor — The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
King was the first woman commissioner in professional sports history when she presided over World TeamTennis, which she co-founded, and that celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.
As the coach for the WTT Philadelphia Freedoms, King became the first female to coach professional male athletes in any sport. She also coached USA Fed Cup and Olympics teams.
King was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 and was presented with her official commemorative ring at this year’s induction ceremony in July. She is also in the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Southern California Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Hilton Head Island-based PTR is the largest global organization of tennis teaching professionals with more than 15,000 members in 125 countries and is dedicated to educating, certifying and servicing tennis teachers and coaches around the world in order to grow the game.
Its Hall of Fame was created to preserve history and honor excellence. The PTR Board of Directors elects members for enshrinement. Candidates must be current or retired PTR members, and must have contributed to PTR and the game of tennis in a way that far exceeds the norm. Induction into the Hall of Fame is considered PTR’s highest honor.