I hit shots that would have been winners on the women's tour and he got to them easily." In 1999 when Serena Williams was 18 and ranked 4th in the world, she re-opened the debate on whether women can compete with men in professional sport.The US Open champion believed she could take on and beat the best players in the men's game - she even applied for a wild card entry to take part in a men's singles event, the Eurocard Open, but this did not eventuate, mainly because she could not compete as she was not a man.There is a long history of female tennis players thinking they can compete with the men, and finding out that it is not as easy as they think.There have been several high profile tennis matches between men and women, and despite the men generally getting the upper hand in these matches, there are some who still think that the best women in the world could be competitive against the men. Two of the greats of the 1920's are said to have played a match, with Will Tilden beating Suzanne Lenglen to love in a couple of sets.Neer was the eighth ranked American male player at the time, and Moody was the reining Wimbledon chamopion.Probably the most famous tennis battle of the sexes took place in 1973, between Bobby Riggs, winner of the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1939, who was aged 55 and still playing some tennis in 1973 but was well past his prime.A dominent player from the 1920s and 30s, Helen Wills Moody routinely practised against men.On January 28, 1933, she played her friend and occasional mixed doubles partner Phil Neer in an exhibition match in San Francisco, beating him in straight sets, 6–3, 6–4.
It was not a serious match at all - Noah wore a dress for much of the match, and played mostly trick shots and slices, but still ended up winning 4–6, 6–4, 7–6.She also holds the all-time record for the most women's singles matches won at the Grand Slams with 316 matches.She has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. 1 for 319 weeks, which ranks her third in the Open Era among female tennis players.Her record of 39 Grand Slam titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the open era: 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles.