In 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in a tennis match billed as the “Battle of the Sexes.”
Serena Williams scored another win for females when she beat fellow American tennis star Andy Roddick in a one-set match when they were children training together in Florida.
When Williams this week told the media at the Australian Open about her childhood win — which she claimed was by a 6-1 score, but he said was 6-4 — Roddick demanded a rematch.
“I don’t think it’s necessary to have a rematch. I won. I was clearly the better player,” Williams said. “The score absolutely speaks for itself. He always jokes ‘rematch, rematch,’ but I don’t even have time for a rematch.”
Roddick said she beat him only because she was a year older and much bigger than he was at the time.
“When we were 10, I had to run around in the shower to get wet,” he said. “She was bench-pressing dump trucks already at that time.”
A giggling Williams said, “Andy’s always exaggerating.”
“I was so small for my age. He was small, too,” she said. “He just got jealous because my body was more fit and that my biceps are probably still bigger than his.”
• CURSE OF THE TERRIBLE TOWEL — At a pep rally in Arizona, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon threw a Pittsburgh Steelers “Terrible Towel” on the ground as fans chanted, “Burn it!”
Cardinals mascot Big Red then did the unthinkable for Steelers fans by wiping his underarms with it.
But Gordon and Big Red might have sealed Arizona’s fate with their actions.
Tennessee Titans players LenDale White and Keith Bulluck stomped on the Towel this season before a win over the Steelers, but they haven’t won another game since. Likewise, the Cincinnati Bengals have been on a downward slide since receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh wiped his feet with the Towel in 2005.
Myron Cope, the late Steelers broadcaster, once explained: “The Towel is a positive force that lifts the Steelers to magnificent heights and poses mysterious difficulties for the Steelers’ opponents only if need be.”
• HALT THE SHOWERS — Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was not pleased with the Gatorade shower he received after the AFC Championship Game — “I am not a proponent,” he said — and quickly turned after getting doused to see which players were part of the prank.
Defensive end Nick Eason confessed to being one of the culprits and also implicated linebacker Arnold Harrison.
“I’m pretty sure (Tomlin will) have something for me at some point in time, if he remembers,” Eason said.
• SAY IT AIN’T SO, FRANCO — As his former team prepares to compete for its record sixth Super Bowl title, Franco Harris, the former Steelers running back who made the famous “Immaculate Reception” in a 1972 playoff win over Oakland, has lent — or sold out — his name to an “Immaculate Collection” furniture line.
The first piece is a “generously proportioned” chair conceived by Helen Hoey. Only 500 chairs will be made, and they’ll be autographed by Hoey and Harris, who dropped the ball on this one.
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL