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Murray challenges Serena to Vegas showdown
08:46 AEST Fri Jun 28 2013

US Open tennis 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 the desert 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?"

Serena, speaking after her win over French qualifier Caroline Garcia at Wimbledon on Thursday, insisted she would be happy to play Murray, as long as she could have a few pre-determined advantages on a clay court that would neutralise some the Scot's strengths.

"He's challenged me? Really? Is he sure? That would be fun," she said. "I doubt I'd win a point, but that would be fun.

"He's probably one of the top three people I definitely don't want to play. But maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown.

"That would be fine. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves and he gets no legs!

"I think I might go clay with him. He loves grass. I do, too. But I'm going to definitely go clay."