Tennis legend John McEnroe shockingly stated in an interview that Serena Williams would only rank #700 if she played against men. What? He knows he’s talking about one of the greatest athletes of all time, right?
John McEnroe, 60, told NPR that Serena Williams, 35, is the “best female [tennis] player ever — no question,” but his glowing praise came with a caveat. Note that John qualified that with “female.” The tennis legend really disagrees with people who consider her the best tennis player — male or female — in the world. He said that she couldn’t hold her weight against men. Um…?
“If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he told NPR. “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 US Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.”
For what it’s worth, Serena herself has acknowledged that there are differences between men and women’s tennis, in a 2013 Late Show with David Letterman interview that the games are “almost two separate sports,” and that “if I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes.” We’re sure she doesn’t think she’d go from #1 in her circuit to #700 in his, though! John could’ve stopped there, but nevertheless, he persisted: “Maybe at some point a women’s tennis player can be better than anybody,” he said. “I just haven’t seen it in any other sport, and I haven’t seen it in tennis. I suppose anything’s possible at some stage.” Oof.
John is one of the most famous tennis players in the world. A star in the 1970s and 1980s, he was known for his volatile personality and angry outbursts on the court when he believed umpires made the wrong calls. Yelling “You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line!” at an official skyrocketed him to infamy. The tennis great said he’s game if Serena wants to battle and acknowledged that 11 years after retirement a seven months pregnant Serena could still whoop him. Damn right she could! “Well I’ve thought about [playing Serena],” John said. “I didn’t really want to do it, personally. And I think I can still play and I think I could still — I mean my kids don’t think I can beat her anymore. Maybe I should get her now because she’s pregnant.”
Cute joke, but Serena won the Women’s US Open while pregnant, and proved that even at seven months along, she’s still the GOAT. Even when she’s not going as hard as she normally would, she can still smash that ball like nobody else. That’s what happens when you have 23 grand slam titles from the US Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and French Open! ESPN has called Serena, who’s nominated for Best Female Tennis Player and Best Female Athlete at the 2017 ESPYs, a “record-breaker and a global icon.”
HollywoodLifers, do you agree with John that Serena isn’t the best tennis player in the world, or do you think his comments are outrageous? Let us know!