Wednesday, 22 July 2015

I've Just Seen: Battle of the Sexes (2013)

Battle of the Sexes (2013)
Directors: James Erskine, Zara Hayes

My two favourite sports are cricket and tennis, which to me define summer in Australia (along with insects and bushfires). I've loved tennis since I was wee thing, though cannot play to save my own life. My favourite player in the 90s was Martina Hingis, and I know I enjoyed watching women's matches more than the mens; the gender biases of childhood. As I have grown I have watched more men's tennis, and now appreciate the differences each group has. But I don't appreciate the coverage space given to each: watching the most recent Wimbledon, I saw far more mens' matches than womens' games. Thanks TV people, the most representative sport for women, and you still short-change them!

Rant aside, this leads wonderfully into this documentary about the match between Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King. The match itself provides much of the tension in the film, and is itself very entertaining, but I found the information about the formation of the Women's Tour (the WTA) the most interesting part. King was instrumental in establishing legitimate tournaments for women to play, and worked hard to make the sport fairer. I did not know this before watching this documentary, and now have a great appreciation not only for her sporting achievements, but also her commitment to the sport as a whole.

The tennis-lover in me also enjoyed watching how tennis used to be played before everything got a whole lot faster: I would like to have seen Serena Williams take on Bobby Riggs! This is a very good documentary, full of an array of characters, and explains how tennis got to be how it is today.

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