Emma Stone honed dance skills to play tennis great Billie Jean King

  • Emma Stone honed dance skills to play tennis great Billie Jean King

Emma Stone honed dance skills to play tennis great Billie Jean King

He still believes exactly what Riggs believed: The best women players are inherently inferior at tennis to the point where even old men can beat them. "I was playing in Harlem at Rucker Park". Besides, I had spent enough time playing sports to recognize a sore loser's exhausted lament.

Truth be told, I wasn't much of a tennis fan in 1973.

But first, a review of the movie "Battle Of The Sexes" from our critic-at-large John Powers.

Just as important as King's success on the court was what she did to advance the women's game.

Although she started therapy at such a young age, Stone also said that she still has anxiety to this day.

"My anxiety was constant", she said. Their match is now the subject of a breezy, new movie, "Battle Of The Sexes", which carries us back to the heyday of both women's lib and shockingly routine sexism.

Things become even more complicated when King catches the attention of showman Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), a former tennis champion who is upset with his low earnings on the senior's tennis circuit. "Men are more exciting to watch", he tells her, despite gender-comparable television audience figures. "The woman is truly a legend". Furthermore, Stone shares that at times, when the anxiety is at its worst, she would feel like it would never end. We're going to be able to stop and have a drink after work.

It is a battle that King is still trying to win today. I thought I had her out of court many times but she made the shots. But on September 20, 1973, Antoine was a senior in college, crowded around a tiny black-and-white TV with her roommates.

Riggs called King the "women's libber leader". Why, for instance, had she been a cheerleader in high school, rather than a basketball or tennis player? She became the first person to win three NHRA Top Fuel championships (1977, '80, '82).

The film is worth seeing for Stone's performance alone, proving why she's the defending Oscar champ for Best Actress. She knows that this self-promoter has successfully rounded up a bunch of men who secretly want to hear his rhetoric, and she will have to, literally, meet him on his own terms. I was 8 years old, standing in my dad's garage - where most of our quality conversations happened - as he listened to me talk, with his head under the hood of a auto.

You see, the King-Riggs match didn't really decide the Battle of the Sexes. "It's a little green monster that looks a little bit, as someone backstage said, (like) a uterus with some ovaries".

"The nice thing was that early on, Billie Jean said, 'You like to dance". It was encouraging, it was uplifting. There were moments in this film where he was playing this role where I nearly was feeling some sympathy.

"It was someone making a stand about equality".

King found out that Riggs, who was paid $50,000 to wear a Sugar Daddy jacket during the match, meant to give her a giant Sugar Daddy candy on a stick. Mrs. King made her entrance on a carriage, borne by six muscular males like a reigning Egyptian queen. The tour was not recognized by the United State Lawn Tennis Association, but it would ultimately gain enough traction to lead to the formation of the Women's Tennis Association in June of 1973.

DAYTON: "Battle Of The Sexes", yeah. She plays King with the ideal blend of the brooding she had in "Birdman" (toned down from being way over-the-top in that movie), and the vulnerability that earned her an Oscar for "La La Land", to show the conflict and pressure King faces at this time in her life both personally and professionally. She would be joining a staff of five male attorneys and five female secretaries just weeks after the match.

"We've come further, but we've a lot further to go", King said.

What do you think?

Agreeing with the actress' assessment, Colbert quipped: "Yes, it does look like you're topless".