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Bobby Riggs museum.

Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum

Field review by the editors.

Encinitas, California

Bobby Riggs had a successful career in serious, professional tennis; he was the world pro champ from 1946-49. We learn a bit about it in the small museum at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club.

Tennis club and museum sign.

Riggs is chiefly remembered for his later-in-life stunts, at age 55, challenging younger female star players in an attempt to show men as superior at tennis. Riggs came out of retirement as the "sexist pig" in his televised Battle of the Sexes matches. He beat 30-year-old champion Margaret Court.

This set up the media frenzy around his match with Billie Jean King on September 20, 1973. King won (Riggs and Billie Jean King became good friends for years before his death in 1995).

The museum was created in 1988 to preserve Riggs' memorabilia and trophies. It fills three walls wrapping around the clubhouse meeting room. Fans can gaze upon his US Open and Wimbledon Championship trophies, and other silver chalices of note. Rackets on the walls include some from other famous players such as Pancho Gonzales, Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe. Everything is labeled. Riggs' books, "Tennis is My Racket" (1949) and autobiographical "Court Hustler" (1973), are displayed.

Sugar Daddy windbreaker from the Battle of the Sexes.
Sugar Daddy windbreaker from the Battle of the Sexes.

The memorabilia from the Battle of the Sexes includes Bobby's Blue Head Master racket, his weird yellow "Sugar Daddy" windbreaker, and Billie Jean King's little white outfit. "The Ballad of Bobby Riggs," a vinyl 45 "hit record" by Lyle (Slats) McPheeters, is framed and behind glass.

Though the museum unsurprisingly makes no mention, at some point a sports expose program strongly suggested Riggs threw the match against King to settle a major debt he had with the Mafia.

Oh that nutty Bobby Riggs!

Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum

Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum

875 Santa Fe Dr, Encinitas, CA
Bobby Riggs Tennis Museum. South side of Santa Fe Dr., next to courts, west of Windsor Rd.
Club hours, public welcome. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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