Christine Quinn Scores Tennis Champ Billie Jean King’s Endorsement

Billie Jean King keeping her fingers crossed for Christine Quinn.

Billie Jean King keeping her fingers crossed for Christine Quinn.

On the heels of major endorsements from the city’s three leading papers, Christine Quinn rallied forward with a different sort of nod this morning: from tennis champion Billie Jean King.

The endorsement–on Women’s Equality Day and the kick-off of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship in Flushing Meadows, Queens–was well-timed for Ms. Quinn, who is vying to become the first female mayor of New York City.

“I think she’s our champion,” declared Ms. King at a press conference on the wooden walkway leading to her namesake tennis center. “I look at Christine Quinn and see how she’s pragmatic and she gets things done.”

In addition to touting Ms. Quinn’s record, Ms. King, who won the tennis tournament four times, also zeroed in on the 40 percent threshold a candidate needs to reach to avoid a run-off following the September 10 Democratic primary. If no candidate hits 40 percent, the top two finishers will face off in October.

“We’ve got to get to 40,” Ms. King said, reminding passersby to vote. “We’ve got to get to 40 percent for Christine Quinn.”

While many early observers had thought that Ms. Quinn might hit the mark, most campaigns now believe a run-off is all but guaranteed.

“Who knew 40 was the lucky number?” Ms. Quinn responded, erupting into her famous booming laugh and waving intermittently to attendees of the tennis championship.

Things got a little less cheery, however, when Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s rival candidacy was mentioned. Over the weekend, Mr. de Blasio dismissed Ms. Quinn’s endorsement from the Times, despite the fact that he had gone after it, too.

“The public advocate went after all of the same endorsements that I did,” Ms. Quinn told reporters when she was asked about the campaign’s dismissal. “Every candidate did. Every candidate wants to be endorsed by The New York Times. This is a case of sour grapes.”

As for her opponents’ ideas for the city?

“They’re plans that are never going to get implemented,” Ms. Quinn further railed. “They’re a wish list, not a vision for the future.”

The de Blasio campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.