Novak Djokovic has thrown down a challenge to Maria Sharapova in the wake of Andy Murray revealing he would like to play Serena Williams in Las Vegas.
Men’s world No 1 Djokovic and Sharapova, third-ranked in the women’s game, have a playful relationship, highlighted by Djokovic mimicking the Russian during the pre-Wimbledon Boodles exhibition event.
When Djokovic interrupted Sharapova’s press conference at Wimbledon on Saturday, he was told that his impersonation was not up to scratch.
Now the pair, both aged 26 and former Wimbledon champions, could meet on court if clashes between the ATP and WTA tours are to become commonplace.
Asked if he would like to play any of the leading players on the women’s tour, Djokovic had no hesitation.
“I’ll play Sharapova anywhere she likes since Serena is already (playing Murray),” said Djokovic.
Asked if he would imitate Sharapova during the match, Djokovic said he would take the contest seriously.
It is easy to suspect he would not, and the proposed clash between Williams and Murray appears the more likely to happen.
Asked what the public could expect from such a match-up, Djokovic had little doubt it would be great entertainment.
“I’ll have to think about it, because now is the first time I’ve heard about it. But I guess it would be a lot of fun, fun to watch,” the Serbian said.
Asked to specify the main threat Serena would pose, Djokovic added: “Game-wise or personality-wise? I don’t know.”
Murray wrote in his BBC Sport column yesterday that he fancied the challenge of taking on the American 16-time grand slam winner.
“I’d be up for it, why not?” he said.
“I’ve never hit with her but she’s obviously an incredible player and I think people would be interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up.”
Williams later stated she would be open to facing Murray.
“He wants to play me? Is he sure?” she said with a laugh.
“That would be fun. He’s probably 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 (tramlines). He gets no serves.
“I get alleys on my serves, too. He gets no legs.”
Williams added: “Maybe I can get a game. I’m not sure, but I think I can get a game.”