WIMBLEDON, 28 JUNE: At the moment, no woman seems capable of providing much of a challenge to Serena Williams on a tennis court.
She’s won 33 matches in a row, and 76 of her past 79. If she wins five more this fortnight, as almost everyone expects, Williams will earn a second consecutive Wimbledon title and 17th Grand Slam championship overall.
So how about playing an exhibition match against a man? Andy Murray, for example?
After Williams beat 100th-ranked qualifier Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round at the All England Club, the first question at her news conference yesterday concerned a suggestion by Murray — prompted by a fan’s Twitter post — that the pair of reigning Olympic and US Open champions play each other.
"Really? He wants to play me? Is he sure?" Williams responded, laughing heartily. "That would be fun. I doubt I’d win a point, but that would be fun."
It might draw some attention, too, given the combined star power of Williams in the US and Murray in Britain. Currently, she is No. 1 in the WTA rankings; he’s No. 2 in the ATP rankings.
"He’s probably one of the top three people I definitely don’t want to play," Williams said. "But maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown. That would be fine. I get (to use the doubles) alleys. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too."
In a piece posted on the BBC site, Murray refers to the original tweet in which someone mentioned he should face Williams.
"I’d be up for it, why not?" Murray said. "I’ve never hit with her but she’s an incredible player and people would be interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up."
On Friday, Murray will stick to trying to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry, 77 years ago. Murray was scheduled to face 32nd-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain on Centre Court, where the roof might be closed if the forecast for rain is accurate.