Murray challenges Serena to show down
June 27, 2013, 15:12:26
US Open champion Andy Murray has challenged women's world No 1 Serena Williams to a showdown in Las Vegas that would evoke memories of the famous 'battle of the [removed]es' 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 No 2'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?"
Meanwhile Llodra become the 11th payer to pull out with an injury - weirdest Wimbledon ever. Federe is adamant h eis not finished yet :
The defeat also ended his astonishing run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances, a streak stretching back nine years.
Federer, the winner of a record 17 majors, is adamant that he will be back next year when he will be six weeks short of his 33rd birthday.
However, his failure to defend his title already means he will fall to No 5 in the world rankings after the tournament – his lowest place since June 2003.
If he were to win a record eighth Wimbledon in 2014, he would become the oldest man to clinch the title, surpassing Arthur Ashe who was six days away from his 32nd birthday when he triumphed in 1975.
Sampras won the last of his Wimbledon titles as a 28-year-old in 2000 while Agassi was aged 32 and 11 months when he captured his seventh and last Grand Slam in Australia in 2003.
Sampras's last Wimbledon in 2002 saw him defeated in the second round by Switzerland's George Bastl, the world number 145, out on the old Graveyard of the Champions.
Agassi's life in the majors ended in the third round of the US Open in 2003 with German world number 132 Benjamin Becker applying the executioner's blow.
Federer insists he can be a champion again and that retirement is not on the agenda.
He is aware that despite Sampras' 2002 misery in London, the American still finished his career on a high by winning the US Open two months later.
"I still have plans to play for many more years to come," said Federer, who has racked up 77 titles and over $77 million (59 million euros, £50 million) on the court in his career.
"It's normal that after all of a sudden losing early after being in the quarters 36 times, people feel it's different. I wish it wasn't going to end here. But I don't think that's something fans are going to mourn.
"It's a great number. I can be proud of it. But I'm moving on."
Federer, who was playing his 15th Wimbledon, has faced down the critics before.
In the French Open final in 2008, his great rival Rafael Nadal allowed him just four games in his worst Grand Slam humbling.
But he recovered from what could have been a shattering loss to win the 2008 US Open, 2009 French Open, 2009 Wimbledon, the Australian Open in 2010 and Wimbledon again last year.
It surely has to be doubtful that he could win another slam.