By Michelle Graff
Tennis star Billie Jean King, during her playing days (left) and now
New York--Citizen announced this week that it has inked a partnership with a tennis star who is as well-known as an advocate gender equality and social justice as she is for winning.

Just as the watch brand marks its 25th anniversary as the official timekeeper of the U.S. Open, it is teaming up with tennis legend Billie Jean King and sponsoring an upcoming movie about what was perhaps her most famous match.

King played professionally between 1959 and 1983. In that time, she won 39 Grand Slam titles playing singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

She also is the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, the Women’s Sports Foundation and co-founder of World Team Tennis, a professional tennis league.

And the building that houses the biggest tennis tournament played in the United States bears her name: the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York is where the U.S. Open is played.

In the coming months, Citizen will partner with the tennis legend and her Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a nonprofit that promotes diversity and inclusion in leadership.

20170804 Battle of SexesEmma Stone plays Billie Jean King and Steve Carell is Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes,” due out in September from Fox Searchlight Pictures.
In addition, the watch brand will be the exclusive timepiece sponsor of the upcoming movie “Battle of the Sexes,” due out Sept. 22.

Starring Oscar award-winner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) and Steve Carell, of “The Office” fame, the film details the widely watched 1973 match between a then 29-year-old King, played by Stone, and tennis pro Bobby Riggs, who was 55 at the time.

King won the match, and her victory was considered a staple in public acceptance of women’s tennis and the women’s movement overall.

During the U.S. Open, Aug. 28 to Sept. 10, and throughout the film’s release, Citizen will be creating promotions around the movie, King and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, and will sponsor a special panel discussion with King, select cast members and other notable personalities.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Citizen watch family, which, over the years, has distinguished itself by supporting causes focused on equality,” King said. “Together with Citizen and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, we will present many exciting programs and amplify the message of equal rights, equal pay and other issues that are important to both men and women.”

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