John McEnroe said today he’s not going to apologize for his comments on NPR last weekend in which he refused to call Serena Williams the best tennis player in the world.
Under McEnroe reasoning, women athletes can never be considered “the best” because they can’t beat men at the game.
It happened on Sunday when Weekend Edition Sunday host Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked McEnroe, who’s hawking his book, why he needed to qualify Williams as the best female tennis player in the world.
“Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” McEnroe said.
Yeah. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it’d be a little higher, perhaps it’d be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she’s so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke ’cause she’s been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.
McEnroe seemed to suggest that he might be able to beat Williams. McEnroe is 60 now.
In 2013, Williams told David Letterman, basically, that McEnroe is right.
“If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes,” Williams said then. “It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed. I would not do the tour, I would not do Billie Jean (King) any disservice.”
On CBS This Morning today, McEnroe suggested he can’t believe there’s a serious reaction about this, while referring to Garcia-Navarro as “the lady.”
As for Serena, she’s busy doing something McEnroe can’t.
I've never played anyone ranked "there" nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017