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Wed Apr 23 21:31:41 SAST 2014

Murray challenges Serena to Vegas showdown

Sapa-AFP | 27 June, 2013 13:490 Comments
The Championships - Wimbledon 2013: Day Two
Serena Williams of the United States of America celebrates a point during her Ladies' Singles first round match against Mandy Minella of Luxembourg on day two of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2013 in London, England
Image by: Julian Finney / Getty Images

US Open champion Andy Murray has challenged women’s world number one Serena Williams to a showdown in Las Vegas that would evoke memories of the famous ’battle of the sexes’ 40 years ago.

Murray threw down the gauntlet to Serena after responding to a Twitter follower who claimed the American could beat her male counterpart.

The world number two’s proposal, however light-hearted he intended it to be, sparked thoughts of the time when 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a tennis superstar of the 1930s and 1940s, took on female greats Margaret Court and Billie Jean King.

Those matches in 1973 drew huge worldwide attention, with Riggs easily beating Court in the first clash.

That prompted King to challenge Riggs to a match in Houston and this time it was the woman who won an historic meeting which is now regarded as a defining moment in the rise in popularity of the feminist movement.

In 1992, Jimmy Connors defeated Martina Navratilova in Las Vegas.

And the idea of a similar clash in America’s self-styled ’Sin City’ seems to appeal to Murray.

“I have been challenged by someone on Twitter to taking on Serena Williams. I’d be up for it, why not?” Murray wrote in his column on the BBC’s website.

“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?” 

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