Serena seeks place on men's tour

GIRLS WILL be boys. Margaret McGregor is in training to trade punches with a man, Loi Chow, in Washington State; Muhammad Ali's daughter, Laila, makes her professional boxing debut tonight, and Serena Williams, the US Open women's singles champion, wants to play tennis on the men's professional tour.

GIRLS WILL be boys. Margaret McGregor is in training to trade punches with a man, Loi Chow, in Washington State; Muhammad Ali's daughter, Laila, makes her professional boxing debut tonight, and Serena Williams, the US Open women's singles champion, wants to play tennis on the men's professional tour.

"Women's tennis is boring. I can beat the men," claimed Williams, 18, who has asked for a wild card entry for the $2.45m (£1.53m) Eurocard Open in Stuttgart on 25 October, one of the nine elite tournaments on the men's circuit.

Boris Becker described Serena's request as "a pretty good joke". The three-times Wimbledon champion said: "If that's the case, and she is going to play, lots of men will go the other way and ask for wild cards into women's competitions, and you will see some strange winners of women's Grand Slams.

"I doubt it very much if Serena could compete with the men. She is very masculine and very strong, but if you compare her game to the likes of Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi in all honesty you are talking about two different sports."

Markus Gunthardt, tournament director of the Eurocard Open, said Williams, No 4 in the women's world rankings, would be included in the draw if the ATP Tour gave its approval to a man-versus-woman match.

Graeme Agars, the ATP Tour's vice-president of communications, spotted a snag. "As much as every guy would love to play Serena in the first round, technically it's not possible," he said. "The ATP Tour is the official circuit of men's professional tennis tournaments. Unless Serena can qualify for the key word - men's - there is a technical problem."

An ATP Tour spokesman later seemed to rule any possibility of Williams application succeeding: "She would have to be a member of the ATP to take part in an ATP tournament. But Serena Williams can't be a member of the ATP because she is a woman."

During the 1998 Australian Open, Serena and her older sister, Venus, boasted that they could beat any man ranked outside the world's top 200. Karsten Braasch, a German ranked No 203 (his highest ranking was No 38), accepted the challenge. Braasch, who was already out of the tournament, played a round of golf in the morning, drank a couple of beers, smoked a few cigarettes, and then played the Williams sisters for a set each, one after the other. He defeated Serena, 6-1, and Venus, 6-2.

Mixed singles are not unique. In the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes", Billie Jean King, 29, defeated the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, for a winner-take-all purse of $100,00. The largest crowd ever to watch a single tennis match - 30,472 - appeared at the Houston Astrodome and an estimated 50 million watched on television.

Riggs, winner of the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1939, had beaten Margaret Court earlier in the year. The Australian, who had accomplished the Grand Slam in 1970, agreed to play Riggs in a nationally televised challenge match in the California resort of Ramona in May 1973. Court, badly affected by nerves, was swept aside by Riggs, 6-2. 6-1.

King "went bananas" on hearing the score and considered that Court had betrayed the cause of women's professional tennis at a crucial stage in its development. "Things had gotten out of control," King recalled. "I had to play Riggs."

On 25 September 1992, Martina Navratilova, 36, played Jimmy Connors, 40, at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Navratilova lost, 7-5, 6-2, in spite of being allowed two serves to her opponent's one and hitting into a court four feet wider.

Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot