• Serena Williams (R) of the United States and Andy Murray (L) of Great Britain are interviewed during the Draw Ceremony prior to the start of the 2013 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 22, 2013 in New York City. (Mike Stobe/Getty)

    Battle of the Sexes, Volume 2

    Serena vs. the Men

    Forty years after Billie Jean King’s ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match, the question returns: can an unstoppable force on the women’s side beat a man?

    “If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6–0, 6–0, in 5 to 6 minutes,” Serena Williams told David Letterman on the Late Show last week. “I wouldn’t do Billie Jean any justice, so Andy, stop it. I’m not gonna let you kill me.”

    The No. 1–ranked women’s tennis player was responding to a challenge that Wimbledon champion Murray issued in June. Williams indicated that the debate over arguably the greatest female player of all time versus the men should remain exactly that—a debate. “Yeah, maybe we can have a little bit of a showdown,” Williams joked at Wimbledon. “I get alleys. He gets no serves. I get alleys on my serves, too. He gets no legs, yeah.”

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  • Anja Niedringhaus/AP

    Pay It Forward

    Venus’s Lasting Legacy

    A new ESPN documentary explores Venus Williams’s most important win so far—her role in Wimbledon’s equal-pay initiative.

    Venus Williams may be absent from Wimbledon this year, but her influence on the tournament remains—and as more than just a bellwether for sister Serena’s success.

    The new ESPN film Venus Vs., which airs July 2 on the sports network, is likely to cement the tennis superstar’s legacy as a trailblazer and a heroine for women’s rights. Venus Vs. documents the long battle for equal wages among the sexes in tennis that began with Billie Jean King and was later championed by Venus. 

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  • Serena Williams apologized after landing in hot water over comments she made about the Steubenville rape case. (Michel Spingler/AP, Michel Spingler)

    In Trouble

    Understanding Serena

    Williams’s comments reveal something important about her tough worldview.

    Years ago, during the first of my many interviews with Venus and Serena Williams, I was immediately struck by the obvious personality differences between the two sisters.

    Venus was the quiet one: pensive and observant of everything around her. Serena, on the other hand, was the quintessential youngest child: free-spirited, kind, uninhibited, and prone to do or say just about anything to anyone at any time.

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  • Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry

    UH-OH

    Serena Steubenville Quote Stuns

    “It could have been much worse.”

    A new Rolling Stone profile of Serena Williams reveals the tennis champion’s take on the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case that may have women’s groups up in arms. “I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you—don’t take drinks from other people,” Williams said. She went on to say that the victim shouldn’t have put herself “in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.” Williams also had some tough comments for her fellow tennis players saying that some of them need to “give it a rest.”

     

    Read it at Deadspin
  • Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport)

    French Open

    Serena Gets A New Coach

    Tennis great Serena Williams looks better than ever heading into final against Maria Sharapova.

    Serena Williams, who will play Maria Sharapova on Saturday for her first French Open title since 2002, has embraced the French life as much as possible. She has recently bought an apartment in Paris, has taken painting classes and, perhaps most importantly, has gotten a new French coach. Patrick Mouratoglou has helped Serena to improve her focus, movement balance and overall game. According to Fed Cup coach Mary Joe Fernandez, Mouratoglou has had “a very calming influence on her. His demeanor is just very down to earth. She has said how she gets anxious sometimes and has to tell herself to relax at times. I think she’s much more calm when she plays now.” Serena is not showing any sign of slowing down soon, as her crushing of Sara Errani showed yesterday, a match that ended in just 46 minutes and ended in Errani getting only one game from Serena.

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  • Sloane Stephens of the United States of America plays a backhand in her fourth round match against Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia during day eight of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Cameron Spencer/Getty)

    GIRL POWER

    The New Serena? Not Quite

    Sloane Stephens might be African-American and a future champ in tennis, but that doesn’t mean she’s Serena Williams 2.0, writes Nicholas McCarvel.

    The day before the biggest match of her young tennis career, 19-year-old Sloane Stephens made her way to a hot dog stand on the grounds of the Australian Open, holding a tennis ball with her named signed on it.

    “Hey all! I’m hiding this ball on-site at the @AustralianOpen,” she tweeted, attaching a photo of her grinning along with the signed ball. “Find it & win 2 box tix 2 my match 2mrw. Clue to come.”

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