1973, the year Billie Jean King was challenged to a ‘battle of the sexes’, fought for equality on the tennis court and triumphed. And yet, 34 years later and the strength of the women’s game is still being questioned, seemingly to assert male dominance within sport. John McEnroe, making an argument with little meaning, stated that ‘if she [Serena Williams] played the men’s circuit she’d be, like, 700 in the world’, prompting once again, a discussion into the matter of gender and sport, as the world number 701 backed his chances against the twenty three-time singles grand slam champion.
But why does this matter? William’s does not need to beat the world number 701 to prove the undeniable impact that she’s made to the game. She has pushed the women’s game, pushed her own physicality, mental ability and desire for more. She is an inspiration as a woman and as a player, in her own right, without the need for a comparison between the sexes. Her continued dominance speaks for itself.
After the previous struggles for women in sport this repetition and cycle of meaningless questions and arguments calls for change. Williams is not simply one of the greatest female tennis players, but one of the greatest players of all time. Comparison between genders is not needed, she exceeds in her sport and pushes beyond the boundaries.