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Should women take men on?

Go Serena!!!! I presume most of the people who voted no in this poll are men- what's wrong guys, scared you might get beaten?
Joanna Fisher, Ireland

This sounds more like Serena trying to intimidate her future opponents than anything else. If she genuinely thinks she can go toe-to-toe with the sheer power of the men's serve-and-volley game and win, well... I'd like to see her try!
Richard Beer, UK

Just two of the comments Talking Point has received so far. Take part below.

Background ¦ Vote ¦ Your reaction ¦ Have your say

The Vote:
Should women take men on?
Yes No

Background ¦ Vote ¦ Your reaction ¦ Have your say

The Background:

Top tennis player Serena Williams has re-opened the debate on whether women can compete with men in professional sport.

The US Open champion believes she can take on - and beat - the best players in the men's game.

And she says she is so bored with the women's tour that she has even applied to take part in a men's singles event, the Eurocard Open.

But the teenage American's suggestion has been greeted with incredulity in certain sections of the men's professional circuit.

Former world No.1 Boris Becker called her idea "a joke", insisting that women were simply not strong enough to compete with men.

Should women in professional sport be allowed to challenge men on level terms? Or would it prove too one-sided to be worth staging? Tell us what you think.

Background ¦ Vote ¦ Your reaction ¦ Have your say

Your Reaction:

Granted Serena is a top tennis pro, but one should remember that she too is a teenager. So people should allow her a gaff or two. I am from a country where women are equally good in firing guns in defence of their father/mother land. So my respect goes to any woman who takes up the challenge. Hats off to women fighters!
Wedi Sila, Eritrea

Don't be ridiculous...Men and women are built differently. No amount of P.C. can change that. It seems that people think just because it's the nineties we are somehow biologically altering. Equality requires common sense not competition
R.Roberts, U.K.

Why not? If Serena thinks she's up to it, then let her! If she gets beaten, then we'll see the media have a field day about it. In the end, in a few years time, it will become old news and people will just wonder what all the fuss was about.
Jason, UK

Even Graf didn't ask for the same thing. How about dominating the women's league first. One US open won't cut just yet. I wonder how the other girls on the tour feel. This might even be looked at as a disrespect to her peers.
Ezana, USA

She is living in Disneyland!
Tim Abernethy, England

If she thinks that she is as good as men tennis players then she should have to play a "best out of five" sets to win at Wimbledon, U.S., French and Australian Open. Until she and the other women play best out of five, then they can never be as good as the men, nor should they receive the same prize money at any of the Grand Slam Tournaments
Ross Gerber, USA

Just because Bilie Jean King beat a retired and old Bob Riggs, women think they can compete with men in the same arena. I remember Martina Navatilova tried some time ago against retired Jimmy Conors and lost even though she was given a set up on a best of three match. A top ranked female player is no match for a male player ranked in the low One hundred. Serena should stick with her peers.
Koreed Imam, USA

Go for it Serena! I'd put money on it that you'd be better than most of them.
Simon Fuller, Australia

Anyone else out there bored with the gender busting "in your face" babes in sports? I certainly am. Go and play against the boys if you want to and if you do win, keep it to yourself. It's all one big yawn.
Di Stewart, USA

Women should be allowed to take on men; why not? They wont beat the men for power and serve (or dare I say, stamina) but go on women, try it and see how far you get!!!!
Francis Hughes, England

I believe that there should be distinction between the genders to bolster the equity and interest in women's sports. Otherwise, it will eventually be phased out as people will not longer have "just" a woman's sporting event to support.
Laurell, United States

I believe that she should be given a chance to compete with men in an event. I think that would highlight just how different the men and women's game really is. If she competes well against the men then that's great for her and for women's tennis. However, I think she will simply be blown away. Men just aren't physically superior to women I think that mentally they are at the same level (or even higher) because it takes a lot of skill and effort playing so fast and so accurately for sustained periods of time.
Nikhil, India

Why stop at Tennis. I think is ludicrous that in this day and age sport is still segregated this way.
John Armstrong-Millar, UK

I understand why people in general like to see a match in tennis between a top female player against a top male player. But it's not a matter of discrimination but more a point of facts. Male players still have the best serves and power. Please don't understand me wrong, female players are great it's just still the differences between strength not willpower....
Michiel Nieuwenhuijse, Netherlands

If Serena wanted to play with men, there should be no problem. Many top women players have played regularly against men, Steffi Graf and Margaret Court being among them. What is surprising is Serena's statement that women's tennis is boring and that she would like to play in a man's tournament. That seems to be utterly unnecessary. She needs to consolidate her place at the top by repeating the feats of Graf and Court, to name just two top players of the past, who have done well, but never made such claims.
G Krishnamurthy, India

The women and men's games are not comparable in that the latter is a lot faster and has more power, especially the service. Having said that, it would be interesting to see a contest at an exhibition level. I'm sure some of the top women players could give the men a good run for their money!
Tony, UK

Serena's comments are typical of US Arrogance. Pride Goes Before A Fall! Well, if Serena seriously insists then allow her to have a try. Since her comments were directed at the top male players, a match between her and Sampras should be arranged as soon as possible.
Aloysious, Isles De Salomon

A truly interesting thought, though I doubt that the majority of female tennis players would be able to compete against the best male players. No sexism here just fact, though I would like to see Serena Williams take her large foot out of her large mouth.
Tom Morgan, Argentina

Do any of the men who voted NO, remember Billy Jean King and a very famous victory for women's tennis?
Zinobia B. Busha, India

I find it ridiculous that this is actually generating serious responses. If Serena does not recognise the obvious differences in physiology of the sexes, I suggest she spend more time in school to at least increase her knowledge.
Dave Mbugua, USA

I say, "Go ahead, Serena." Unfortunately, I don't think Ms. Williams holds a chance in heck - for one, she doesn't beat half the women she comes up against - good luck beating someone who is biologically bigger and stronger than you. We've seen this before - with 2 EXTREMELY talented, powerful women tennis players (remember Billie Jean and Martina?). Unfortunately, both of these women lost in their challenge of men on the tennis court. This is not to say that Ms. Williams, or any other women, are not amazing athletes, far from it, just that the possibility Ms. Williams proposes on the tennis court will likely never happen with her coming out victorious in the scoring.
Maria, USA

My answer is no simply because she stands absolutely no chance against any of the male players. There is too much difference in quality between the men's and women's game to even think of a match. The sheer power of a male player can overwhelm any female player in the world. Serena would be a terrible mismatch to any male player worth his salt.
Anuvind Bhushan, India

Although the Williams sisters have great upper body strength in comparison to the other female tennis players, they don't have the strength or volley speed to beat the best male tennis players. Sorry, but statistics don't lie, only statisticians (and arrogant tennis players).
Bob Little, USA

Serena should be allowed to play so that her illusion that she can take on men could be dispelled. I think her statement is motivated by arrogance rather than her flair for the game. It would be interesting to allow her play with a condition that if she loses in first round she should never play Tennis and she should be made to apologise to the women tennis players for calling their brand of tennis as "boring" I may sound a bit harsh on her(Serena) but she deserves such a response
Shivesh, India

Yes by all means...after all it should prove amusing. Although, quite frankly I don't think she has a chance in hell of beating any of the top 20 male players. It is a matter of physical strength and whether we like it or not, men are generally physically stronger. I suspect her racket will fly out of her hands when she is hit with a 125km fast serve ball!!!
Vivien Cooksley, Austria

Ii believe in Serena, she'll beat all men in future!!!
Oleg, US

I think Serena has the capabilities to go a long way against the male players. Probably not the top 70 or 80 but definitely the top 150. Her and Venus a few years ago played and unofficial match against Berndt Karbacher and although neither won they took a few games. Taking into consideration that they are much better now, I think Serena at least should be given the chance to try.
Corey, Australia

It would not be fair on every women's part to compete with men because men's tennis is very challenging and strong and on the top of it, match could even end up in a 5 seater or so... women might not have that capability or stamina... But if they like to they can go for it.. It's totally their choice..
Upreet, USA

I think the women should be aloud to take on the men so they can find out how easily they will be beaten. It would be very funny because apart from the strong women (e.g. Williams and Morsemo) they would all louse. Poor Hingis would never win again. The men's game is just too fast!
Andrew, England

Although its unlikely that Serena can do well in a tournament against male players, she should be allowed to compete to find out.
Mark Flanegan, USA

Why not?. let her play against any of the top 250 men's players. But there are some issues to be considered here. First, if she were to play against lower ranked clay court specialists, (challenger players or lower) on grass or hard courts , the results could be interesting!, but I don't think she could even remotely match any of the tour players. Still, who are we to deny her a chance?. Also, the WTA should keep in mind Becker's suggestion that if the reverse occurred and men were allowed to compete against women, we could have many strange winners in women's grand slams!.
Partha Mishra, India

If women are allowed to compete in the men's game, will this mean that men can compete in the woman's?? I think not.....therefore the whole idea is silly.
J. McQuillan, N Ireland

If Woman can join the military, take on a "man's" job, construction, etc. Why not let them compete each other in pro sports! If one sex wins over the other in sports, it doesn't mean that that sex is overall the better of the two, just that one person is better at that game!
Sheri Hester, USA

I think she should be allowed to play against men if she wants to. Why not set up a match over 5 sets between her and say, Sampras or Ruseski ? Than we'll really know for sure.
Adrian Manship, Belgium

Why not? I think women will soon be able to whip men at any sport.
Karen, UK

No I don't think that women should take on the men. Serena has only won one major title and lost in an early round of a tournament this week. Let's see how she handles playing when she is expected to win every match. Maybe that's what she is afraid of. She prefers to be the underdog and she definitely would be the underdog in men's tennis!!!!
Andy, UK/USA

Sure, absolutely, without a doubt. Equality is what it says it is. As long as the playing field is flat of course. However, it must not be carried out if handicap systems are to be employed. If the aim is to compete then so be it. It will of course mean a basically average to low position for most of the female competitors. position for most of the women competitors.
David Clark, UK/US

I think we should let her join the men's tour. She'd have exactly what she wants and have the possibility of earning the money that the men do. I think in reality though she'd soon revert due to the fact that she wouldn't get far enough in any tournaments to win any money.
Steven Hibbert, Scotland

It would be interesting to see what the reaction would have been had one of the men applied to play in a tournament on the women's circuit. If they really think they can compete then I think they should start off by playing 5-set matches in grand slams like the men. One step at a time..
Rob Buckley, UK

I don't think women should compete against men in competition - there'd be no match - the men would be far more likely to win, but why not let the Williams sisters play a couple of top male players in some charity or a 'friendly' tie - then they'll see that women vs. men in tennis is not a good idea.
The Williams sisters might be powerful and good players but I don't think they're a match for the likes of Sampras or the serves of Phillipoussis or Rusedski. Would be interesting to see though - but only as a one-off.
Vicki, UK/US

I think they should, because most men find humiliation and defeat very awkward, especially from women. Let men be flogged by women at the tennis court and take the pains home.
Tajudeen Isiaka, Nigeria

They should have the opportunity to do it. I don't think a lot of women can or will though because of the difference in play and power.
Fred, UK

Although it's unlikely that Serena can do well in a tournament against male players, she should be allowed to compete to find out.
Mark Flanegan, USA

Serena Williams? is this a joke? or what? She has just come off with her first MAJOR title and she wants to take on the men? Well maybe she should try a beat her female counterparts a few more times before she tries and loses against the men. She would probably not even be able to beat the men's world # 500, judging from her attitude! Grow up Serena you still have a LOT to prove!
Frank, Namibia

Go Serena! The boys are just feeling threatened! I'd rather watch women's tennis anyway. All the men do is blast each other - there is not skill or tactics involved.
Kate, UK

I think Serena has a case of an ego-centricism after getting her FIRST grand slam title. Also 'cos she has recently been beating Hingis she now is "bored" with the woman's tour? If she thinks she is so great then let her have a 5 set match vs Pete Sampras!!! She is a great player and has a shot at being a "great" but that is a long way off. Steffi in her prime probably had the best shot at beating the men... not Serena. But she still should be allowed to pursue this to at least put paid this argument.
Damon, USA

Women can match men and beat men mentally, this is good. But take on a man in a physical contest and there is no chance, women can't be best at everything just as men can't.
Darren, England

With the power in the men's game today, I would be surprised if any women would be in the top 50. Put men and women in one tour and see how many women make a living out of it. It would not take long for them to want to revert back to the current system. There is no disrespect to women intended here but generally the men are stronger, faster, fitter and more agile. Women tend to play baseline a lot of the time, men play serve & volley.
Dave T, England

How arrogant can these two sisters get? They act like they invented the sport.
Mark, USA

Go Serena go!!! It's a free world. I don't think that saying she wants to play on the men's tour means she is arrogant. People, please stop bashing the Williams Sisters. They are my favourite players anytime any day. Go Venus!! Go Serena!!
Esta Inyang, Nigeria

Congratulations to Serena. Nothing wrong with a spot of free self promotion. Only sad thing is that some people might actually take her seriously.
David Kelly, UK

While I admire her as a tennis player, I think that males are just physically stronger. It would make an excellent charity match but I don't think it should happen on a professional circuit.
Rachel, Australia

Judging by most of the male reaction, is good to see the blokes running scared as usual. Go for it Serena! Even if you don't win at least give it a good shot. Doubt if many men will understand this, though!
Janet, UK

These American ladies are getting too big for their boots. Of course they can't beat a man at tennis or at any other sport. They should continue to play against one another and keep out of men's competitions.
Davide Angleasac, France

I think it would be a great idea. I think people are taking it too seriously. It should be taken as fun one-off and an interesting experiment. I think one top ten male player should also be allowed to play in a women's tournament as well.
Roy Matthews, England

I think that they should let her play. But I find it extraordinary that she made these comments about the "women's game being boring and that she could beat the men" after she had been knocked out in the first round of a women's tournament
Steven Minogue, Ireland

Rather than these comments leading to a serious feminist discussion they should be taken for what they are; the rantings of yet another spoilt American brat. As yet, Serena has not proved to be anything approaching remarkable in the women's game. To suggest that she would achieve lofty heights in the men's game is sheer fantasy.
Peter Odinga, UK

This could work in certain sports such as tennis, golf etc.. Indeed why not, one way or another it could make for stimulating competition and entertainment. however extending this argument to all sport just simply wouldn't work. Could you imagine a unisex Rugby Union team? I think not. Let's not get carried away shall we!
Vince, UK

I say same competitions, same chances. Women demand equality. I say give it to them. I just hope that the lack of women as professionals in many sports won't upset them too much. If we were all equal then it would be different but men are physically stronger and faster in sports. It's just a fact. Simply looking at the world of Track and Field events. It shows this division clearly.
Will, UK

The Olympic motto 'Faster, Higher, Stronger'. Study this, and then think, at what sport could a women be physically faster than a man at? What sport could a woman go physically higher than a man at? Finally, at what sport could a woman be physically stronger than a man at? Women can be all those things, but not in a physical sport.
Brian, Belgium

I hope she has the courage to carry it through. Or is it that the men are worried they might get beaten by a mere woman?
Pia Gioapay, Italy

As I seem to remember didn't Billie Jean King make a similar challenge a few years ago and failed miserably?
I C Whitecome, UK

The ego has landed. For Serena Williams to say that she can take on the top men and win is utterly ridiculous. They will simply be too strong, too fast and too powerful. Second thoughts maybe the tennis circuit should be mixed so some of these over paid, no value for money prima donnas can be brought back to earth.
Jason Hudson, England

Let Serena play at the Eurocard Open. The men's game could do with some personalities after suffering years of boring Pete & co. And even if the match is a whitewash at least the post-match interview will be riveting.
Sid Dhami, UK

Instead of focusing on the tournaments that already exist, why not create a new one that only has one category - mixed! Only people who really wished to enter would do so and people who dislike the idea of opening up the other tournaments can be satisfied and it gives women a chance to prove themselves. To encourage the top players to join, maybe a nice sized prize would be a good incentive!
If it was shown that women beat the men, then there is no reason why further action to open up the other tournaments couldn't be taken. If it was finally shown that women could take on the men as equals in tennis, why bother having separate categories based on gender at all (or for the matter, in any sport that the strength disadvantage isn't too great).
Matthew, UK

I can understand Serena getting bored with the women's game, there are only several top players that can challenge her. The only place she might be able to beat the top men is on a computer games console or in her dreams.
J Heer, UK

If the ATP were to hold mixed tournaments we would just be aiding the demise of women in tennis. Were major tournaments to be mixed we would just see the humiliation of many of the top female athletes. Fewer women would play tennis because there would be no way that they could win tournaments or make a living. Serena is plotting the demise of her own sport. If equality is her goal then she should be trying to make the woman's game more popular and more competitive.
William McFadden, UK/USA

If women's sport was given more respect, coverage and funding they wouldn't feel the need to prove themselves in this way.
Wendy S, UK

This sounds like a laugh. Serena Williams vs. Greg Rusedski or any of the top 100 men. Women may be as fit as men and more intelligent but men have strength and stamina. There are sports where men and women could compete on a level playing field, however, tennis isn't one of them.
Daren, UK

Of course they can take men on. I'd love to see it. Already mixed doubles games show that the gap in power and speed is closing. I think men would still win on brute force at the moment, they are certainly not more skilful, but in the future who knows?
Chris C, UK

You don't know until you try!
Ben, Netherlands

I think that woman should be allowed to compete fairly with men in whatever sport they like. If only to show the futility of their efforts and to finally put this ridiculous argument to rest.

The last time the Williams sisters challenged the men, they chose a man ranked #203 in the world and got blasted. They only won 3 games between them. For all of the talking that the Williams family does, their record in grand slams is pretty weak. They need to concentrate more on establishing themselves in the Women's game by winning GRAND SLAMS!
Jason Keenum, USA

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