Andy Murray leads tributes as Billie Jean King wins prestigious award
Billie Jean King won the highly prestigious lifetime achievement award at the BBC SPOTY, becoming just the third tennis player to achieve it.
The Sports Personality of the Year awards are a long-standing celebration of sport in the UK ands held annually.
Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova are the only other two tennis players to win the lifetime achievement award, largely considered to be the most prestigious to he held out on the night.
“I like to thank everyone at the BBC for this lifetime achievement award and for including me in this historic evening.” King said during the trophy presentation.
“This part of the world (the UK) has played a major role in my life and in my career.
“I won my first national championship at the Irish Open in 1963 and I won my final Professional tour title in Birmingham in 1983.”
“Next year I will be going to Wimbledon for the 59th year in a row. It is like a second home for me.” King added on the venue where she won more than half of her major titles.
“We never achieve success alone. I’ve been really fortunate to have the support of my partner, my family, coaches, friends, players and the people of my home town.”
Billie Jean King is well-known for fiercely fighting for equality as well as her tennis, and she remembers how the game she loves inspired a life-long passion.
“At 12, I had an epiphany whilst sitting at the Los Angeles Tennis Club,” she explained.
”Everybody who played played in white shoes, white clothes, played with white tennis balls and everybody that played was white.
“I asked myself ‘where is everybody else?’
“From that moment on, I committed myself to fight for equality and inclusion of all for the rest of my life.”
Former British and world number one Andy Murray led the tributes, saying: “Billie Jean King is not just an inspiration for me, but I think for lots of athletes.”
“She stood up for what she believed in. That certainly impacted future generations a lot.”
More from Tennis365:
British tennis star hits out as Mason Greenwood assault charges are dropped
Leading British tennis player Liam Broady has given his opinion on the legal developments surrounding footballer Mason Greenwood.
Heather Watson ends her quarter-final drought with win in Thailand – ‘It was just survival of the fittest’
Heather Watson will now face Chinese seventh seed Xinyu Wang.
Toni Nadal shares thoughts on fans’ hostility toward Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal’s future
Toni Nadal on why Novak Djokovic has so many detractors.
Stunning LTA numbers confirm tennis participation is booming in Britain
New figures have revealed that there has been a 47 per-cent increase in tennis participation in clubs and parks across Britain.
Aryna Sabalenka’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is she competing next and her season so far…
A look at Aryna Sabalenka’s possible tournaments for the 2023 season.
Serena Williams welcomes Tom Brady to ‘retirement world again’ as she opens up about her final match ‘regret’
“Sad to see you go,” Serena Williams told Tom Brady.
Elina Svitolina urges IOC to ‘stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes’ for Paris 2024 Olympics
Elina Svitolina wants a united front when it comes to sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus.
Marion Bartoli latest to criticise Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov – ‘I just can’t take that any more’
Marion Bartoli basing her opinion on Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov on incidents she witnessed herself.
Australian Open viewing figures need context amid Novak Djokovic snipes
TV viewing figures for Australian Open may appear to be disappointing, yet raw figures only reveal part of the story.
Nick Kyrgios on crutches as his manager gives fitness update
Everyone is “really, really pleased” with Nick Kyrgios’ recovery.