June 26, 1962 - Billie Jean Moffitt (pictured) made tennis history at Wimbledon today. The 18-year-old Californian rallied from the brink of defeat with an extraordinary display of grit and nerve and beat top-seeded Margaret Smith of Australia, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5. A stunned crowd of 18,000 watched the match. Never before had a top-seeded woman been beaten on the first day of singles competition in that division. Miss Smith was the prohibitive favorite to win this world championship. So far this year, she had won the Australian, French, and Italian titles and appeared on her way to the “grand slam” of tennis. And yet she was beaten by little Miss Moffitt, beaten by raw determination on this raw, blustery afternoon.
top of page
bottom of page