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Twitter spikes as Murray and Serena contemplate battle

The reaction of Twitter to the Andy Murray and Serena battle
by Alexandra Willis
Friday 28 June 2013

We all know that tennis loves a debate. Five sets. Three sets. More prize money. Less prize money. Equal prize money. More matches. Less matches. More holidays. Less holidays. The list goes on. So as soon as a player throws a suggestion out there that covers any of these topics, whether in seriousness or in jest, it will catch a few lines. Especially on a wet day. And in the aftermath of a Wednesday as weird as Wimbledon was two days ago. 

So it's no surprise that when Serena Williams joined in Andy Murray's banterous challenge about what would happen if the two were to face off across the net, the ears of the Twittersphere pricked up in some fashion. 

Murray's return to the social media network has been greeted with delight, especially when the US Open champ gives an insight into his entertainingly dry sense of humour. So when one of his fans gave him some ribbing over how he might perform against the five-time Wimbledon champion, Murray stepped up. 

"I reckon Serena Williams could beat u on grass … And I'm not even joking," @tomcarswell1 wrote. "Me too!" Murray replied. "Maybe we can set it up one day and see how close I get."

Murray took it on in some style, writing in his BBC Sport column that the two could have an entertaining showdown in Las Vegas. 

"I've never hit with her but she's obviously an incredible player," he wrote, "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?"

At that point on Thursday morning, there were some murmurings, with a little surge in tweets on the topic. 

But then Serena announced she would be all for it, (although she wants some help with the rules, suggesting that Murray would have to play in the singles court, whereas she would have the doubles to aim at.)

"Really?’ she said in press. ‘He wants to play me? Is he sure? That would be fun. I doubt I’d win a point but it would be fun.

"Murray is one of the top three people I definitely don’t want to play. But, yeah, maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown. That would be fine. I get alleys. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too."

As Serena's quotes hit the wires, the Twitterati responded, with the conversation peaking at 3pm on Thursday afternoon.

40 years since the infamous Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, 21 years since another one between Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova, the prospect of a man playing a woman at tennis is all the rage yet again. 

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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

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