Wimbledon champions Serena Williams has responded to a challenge issued by Britain’s Andy Murray to an inter-gender showdown match, gladly accepting the invitation but admitting she may struggle to win a single game.
After being challenged on his Twitter account, Murray admitted that he was interested in taking on the 16-time Grand Slam champion in an exhibition match.
The match would echo similar matches held in the seventies, when then 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a star of the 1930’s and 1940’s, took on Margaret Court and Billie Jean King in 1973. The matches gained huge attention across the globe in what was labelled the Battle of the Sexes.
Despite beating Court, Riggs lost to King in a match that has been used as the central act in a new documentary film. A similar match took place in 1992, when Jimmy Connors defeated Martina Navratilova in Las Vegas.
Williams herself was involved in such a match, when she took on Karsten Braasch – then ranked 203rd in the world – during the 1998 Australian Open. See remains open to facing Murray, despite her initial surprise at the challenge,
“He’s challenged me? Really? He wants to play me? Is he sure?” she said light-heartedly.
“That would be fun. I doubt I’d win a point, but that would be fun.
“[I’ve done it before but] I was really young. I’m a lot more experienced now. He’s probably one of the top three people I definitely don’t want to play.
“But, yeah, maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown. That would be fine.
“I get alleys (tramlines). He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too. He gets no legs.”
Williams, who today saw off Caroline Garcia to reach the third round, adjusted her prediction upon reflection.
“Maybe I can get a game. I’m not sure, but I think I can get a game.”
Murray had previously written in his BBC column: “I’d be up for it, why not?
“I’ve never hit with her but she’s obviously an incredible player and I think people would be interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up.
“It’s happened in the past with Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova. How about Las Vegas as a venue?”
The competitor inside Williams instantly kicked in though, analysing Murray’s strengths and weaknesses on the different court surfaces.
“Indoor, grass, I’m going to have to choose grass indoor,” Williams said.
“Actually, I might go clay. I think I might go clay with him. He loves grass. I do, too. But I’m going to definitely go clay.”
Serena Williams vs Andy Murray
Country United States of America United Kingdom
Birth Date 26 September 1981 15 May 1987
Birth Place Saginaw, MI, USA Dunblane, Scotland
Height 5 ft. 9 in. (1.75 metres) 6 ft. 3 in. (1.91 metres)
Weight 150 lbs. (68.2 kilos) 185 lbs. (84.1)
Current singles ranking 1 2
Year turned pro 1995 2005
Career matches won 588 406
Career matches lost 106 128
No. of Grand Slam singles finals 20 6
No. of Grand Slam singles titles 16 1
Career Prize Money $46,419,659 $27,330,188