From the court to the red carpet, Emma Stone knows how to serve up an ace.
She was joined by her costar, Steve Carell, who plays Bobby Riggs — the male tennis player who challenged women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King to a faceoff.
On Saturday, Stone performed a special tribute to King in honor of the 50th anniversary of the tennis icon’s triple crown win in 1967.
Together with Tony-nominated singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, Stone paid tribute to King at a pre-match ceremony at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, where the U.S. Open is currently being held.
In 1967, King won her triple crown by finishing first in the women’s singles, women’s doubles and women’s mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open.
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But the film tells the story of another saga in King’s illustrious career. In 1973, she famously defeated ex-champion Bobby Riggs (played by Carell) at the Houston Astrodome in a match nicknamed “Battle of the Sexes.” Riggs thought there was no way a woman could beat him at tennis, and used his outlandish commentary to drum up publicity for the match.
At the time, so many people turned in for the “Battle of the Sexes” that it became the most-watched sporting event of all time.
During filming, Stone only sparingly sought out King’s advice on how to play her. King later explained, “She didn’t want to because I’m in my 70s, and she said I’m more fully formed as a person.”
“She said, ‘I want to know what [Billie] was feeling at 28 and 29 when she played Bobby.’ That’s where she had to concentrate.”
Battle of the Sexes will be released in theaters on Sept. 22.