This is a debate that’s raged on for years. Challenges have been proposed, some accepted and some declined. There have been positives, with tennis being one of few sports to have equal prize money for men and women. Many unofficial clashes have taken place over the years, with the match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs being seen as the original. Even though Riggs lost convincingly, some have argued that their age difference made it an uneven contest while others have speculated Riggs threw the match to pay off his gambling debts.
John McEnroe, a former tennis player from the United States renowned for his tantrums and outbursts, recently reignited this debate by saying that he would beat current World No. 1 Serena Williams. McEnroe, who is now a respected commentator but is still active on the senior’s tour made the claims on the Jimmy Kimmel show but conceded that he would be at loss if they clashed in a boxing ring.
In my personal opinion, if a clash were to happen which is probable, McEnroe would still have the upper hand. With the evolution of racquet technology, men’s tennis has been dominated by power whereas women have had to rely on their touch and feel since they don’t have the physical strength that men do. McEnroe has demonstrated that he’s still got the game to match it with the likes of Roddick and Sampras on the seniors tour while Williams has relied on her sheer power over her career to dominate her opponents.
However, I would stop short as to whether McEnroe would be victorious. If he were to be given the run around, that would be a battle he probably wouldn’t win. Return of serve would be key for him and once he is in the rally he would need to reach the net at every possible opportunity to keep the points short. Williams on the other hand would need to be solid from her end and hope that her adversary goes off the boil a little bit over a line call. It would be a match I would love to see provided there are no gimmicks and for a good cause.