The Women's Tennis Association said today its board of directors unanimously rejected Billie Jean King's offer to resign as president of the organization.

The WTA is governed by a 15-member board, including King, who has held the office of president since 1973 and was re-elected to a one-year term in September 1980.

"Every board member emphatically rejected Billie Jean's offer to resign and expressed support for her continuing as president of the player association," the WTA said in a statement.

King, founder of the association, is the subject of a lawsuit filed by her former secretary, Marilyn Barnett, who was involved in a lesbian relationship with King during the early 1970s and who is suing King in a "palimony" action.

Barnett claims King promised to support her for life and to deed over a house in California to her.

In Tokyo today, King and Andrea Jaeger lost to Anne Smith and Kathy Jordan, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, in the opening round of the $150,000 Bridgestone tournament.

It was King's first tournament since the Barnett suit was filed. King said, "No, no," when asked if her play was affected by her off-court trouble. "I love to be on the court because I'm free and no one bothers me.