Image 01 Image 03

John McEnroe Stands by His Serena Williams Comments

John McEnroe Stands by His Serena Williams Comments

He thinks Serena would be ranked 700 in the men’s circuit.

Tennis legend John McEnroe caused quite a stir during his NPR interview when he said Serena Williams would only be ranked 700 if she played on the men’s circuit. Williams hit back, but McEnroe refuses to apologize for his statement. From The Los Angeles Times:

McEnroe said he had been asked why he called Williams the best women’s tennis player of all time rather than simply the best tennis player of all time.

“And so then I felt the need, however unfortunately probably, to defend myself,” McEnroe said Tuesday. “I don’t know, just say what I really felt, which is about what I think she would be.”

McEnroe said he didn’t realize his statement “would create controversy” but added: “Why don’t you combine, just solve the problem — I’m sure the men would be all for this — the men and women play together and then we don’t have to guess.”

Here’s how Serena responded:

I don’t like it when women hide behind their pregnancies, but I’m willing to give Serena a pass after everything she has accomplished.

REMINDER: Serena won the Australian Open in January at EIGHT WEEKS PREGNANT.

McEnroe continued:

McEnroe, who won seven grand slam singles titles during his career, was bemused his comments had attracted so much attention. “I didn’t know it would create controversy. I’ve said this 1,000 times,” he said. “I don’t want anything to go wrong with Serena because she’s pregnant, I don’t want to upset her. I think she’s doing it tongue in cheek as well and I think deep down we’re talking about something … I can’t even believe we’re talking about it.”

But at the same time, does McEnroe have a point? Look at what Serena told David Letterman four years ago:

“For me, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports,” Williams said. “If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. 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.”

Let me remind you that Serena is not the same hot headed Serena from her beginnings. She has become more humble and grateful. She has matured not only as a tennis player and person. I personally adore her.

Serena has 39 Grand Slam titles: 23 in singles (including all time high of 7 in Australia), 14 in doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She has held all 4 Grand Slam titles at the same time two times in her career. She has also won 4 gold medals: 1 in singles, 3 in doubles. Her career win-loss record stands at 184-30.

But I’ve noticed that she will sell herself short. I saw her win Wimbledon in person and she blew me away. I’ve watched tennis my whole life and her talent is once in a lifetime thing you’ll see. Serena and Roger Federer play a different type of game on the courts, but they both become inhuman as they play.

It’s hard to say who would win: Serena vs. Roger, Serena vs. Novak Djokovic, Serena vs. Rafael Nadal? Either way, Serena could easily play all of them for 5 sets and would not be surprised if she emerged victorious.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Who’s old enough to remember the Great Battle of the Sexes between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, 44 years ago?

And with the passage of time, most everyone seems ready to admit that the whole thing was a scheme to cook up a big payoff for both of them, and that Bobby Riggs intentionally threw the match at the end in order to pay off his debts to 2 big time mobsters.

    MadisonS in reply to Tom Servo. | June 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    I also remember the running joke back then that Billie Jean King would become the sponsor for Snap-On Tools.

No doubt she is a force and tennis tends to neutralize some advantages…. I doubt the lowly 700th but not that near the top as hoped. Forget Bobby Rigg(ed)s and King…. time to really see who can win. Best would be 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Serena is the best women’s player…ever… but…

    Olinser in reply to alaskabob. | June 27, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Yeah 700 seems quite low but I definitely agree she’s nowhere near the men’s top 100. Probably somewhere in the 300-500 range if you actually put her on the circuit.

    rinardman in reply to alaskabob. | June 27, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    What they should do at every professional tournament, is have the women’s winner play the men’s winner, to determine the overall winner of the tournament.

    And then we’ll see how the female players compare to the men.

aloysius9999 | June 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

The most recent analog we have is Annika Sorenstam, who was to women’s golf what Serena Williams is to women’s tennis, entering a men’s PGA Tour event on a sponsor’s exemption and missing the cut.

healthguyfsu | June 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Sorry Mary it’s not hard at all to say who would win those games between top men and Serena.

She also hasn’t changed much…she’s a celeb SJW:

Mary…Serena is right. She would be wiped out by any of the top men, and would be hard-pressed to take a set from any of the top 700.

She is the greatest women’s player ever. That’s good enough.

McEnroe ought to know better than to respond to an unanswerable question.

ftworthfred | June 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm

the USWNT, the best women’s soccer team in the world, recently played a game against 15 yr old boys and lost 5-2. Serena is in a class by herself vs. other women but she would be overmatched against even the best college men.

    Close ftworthfred, but she would be overmatched against even the top ten high school players in the nation.

    When I played in high school the number 1 on a few teams would have beaten any female tennis player. At least one went on to an undistinguished pro career.

We don’t have to guess. It’s a matter of tennis lore that both Serena and Venus got blown away years ago 6-0/6-1 back to back on a pick up dare against some chain smoking German journeyman whose name no one can remember.

I think this guy drifted between 150 and 600 in the world.

Google it.

Also, John Smoltz, the baseball pitcher, beat Soresstam at golf.

Sorry, but McEnroe’s right, though probably not such a low ranking. The current “culture” is going to kill off Title IX and the point of Title IX was to give women’s sports equal dollars so that there would be scholarships, etc. available. Serena Williams is an extraordinary athlete, but she is not a MALE tennis player. Men and women ARE different, relish the differences and remember “Kindergarten Cop.”

It so refreshing when someone insists on being honest against all the peer pressure to swear the Emperor’s clothes are beautiful.

Serena is a professional athelete, paid vast amounts to be an object of public interest. How can speculating how she would fare against this or that competition possibly be an invasion of her privacy?

A fun response would have been: “Uh oh, #700 must be feeling a little like Bobby Riggs about now.” THEN she could hide behind her pregnancy.

But I wouldn’t rank her that low. Top performance in tennis has so much to do with consistency. Serena is top five in consistency, number one by far in physical ability. The #700 man is probably about 700 in consistency and that is something on which men and women don’t differ. His speed and strength might well not be enough to compensate.

On the other hand, #700 might be top 25 in consistency and way down on strength, but still substantially stronger and faster than Serena. Then she would get clobbered. That is how old man Riggs almost matched King. He had some consistency. He was actually down on power and speed compared to King.

Serena is currently naked on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Please everyone, respect her privacy!!!

4th armored div | June 27, 2017 at 6:53 pm

wonder woman vs superman ?
men have much greater upper body strength.
fastest man vs woman in 199 m — man 1 s faster

    4th armored div in reply to 4th armored div. | June 27, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    /199/ ->100 Meter race

    Olinser in reply to 4th armored div. | June 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    So? The US Men’s high school record in the 100M dash is faster than the Women’s world record.

    I believe last Olympics that the #9th ranked high school boy would have won the Women’s Olympics and that the women’s winning Olympic time wouldn’t even have QUALIFIED for the Men’s 100M dash.

    1s in 100m dash is a freaking LOT. Major races are won and lost on hundredths of a second.

      officiousintermeddler in reply to Olinser. | June 28, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      “I believe last Olympics that the #9th ranked high school boy would have won the Women’s Olympics and that the women’s winning Olympic time wouldn’t even have QUALIFIED for the Men’s 100M dash.”

      In fact, you’re greatly understating the disparity between men and women in the 100M dash. The winning time in the women’s 100 meter sprint in Rio last year was 10.71 seconds. There were 426 high school boys in the United States who ran faster than that in track meets this year, including 9 ninth grade boys who beat that time. And high school kids have not yet reached their peak speeds. For an age-appropriate comparison, the fastest high school girl last year ran 11.24. There were 5,175 high school boys who beat that time.

      Another example: There were 537 high school boys who ran faster than the winner of the women’s 400 meter race at Rio, including 26 ninth graders. There were 5,500 high school boys who ran faster than the fastest high school girl.

Char Char Binks | June 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm

It’s too bad McEnroe interfered with her having a baby. Not cool, Johnny!

“Who’s old enough to remember…”

That time in September?

**** In 1973, Riggs… came out of retirement to challenge one of the world’s greatest female players to a match, claiming that the female game was inferior and that a top female player could not beat him, even at the age of 55.

Riggs originally challenged Billie Jean King [age of 29], but she declined.

He [then] challenged Margaret Court, 30 years old and the top female player in the world.

In their May 13, 1973, Mother’s Day match… Riggs used his drop shots and lobs to keep an unprepared Court off balance.

His easy 6–2, 6–1 victory landed Riggs on the cover of both Sports Illustrated and Time magazine.

Following Court’s loss to Riggs, King accepted his challenge, and on September 20, 1973, King beat Riggs, 6–4, 6–3, 6–3 for the $100,000 winner-take-all prize. (edited for clarity) ****

    Arminius in reply to guinspen. | June 29, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Riggs was essentially addicted to gambling. He bet on himself to win at Wimbledon in 1939 after he got to London and found that the bookies had heavy odds against him. Not just to win in men’s singles, or doubles, or mixed doubles. All of them, something no one had ever done. He won a fortune, the equivalent of well over a million dollars in today’s money, then gambled it all away.

    None of this is a secret; Riggs told reporters this in interviews. He wrote it about it himself. He lost a lot when he bet on things he couldn’t control, such as horse racing, college football, casino gambling, etc. But he won consistently when he bet on things he could control such as amateur and senior tennis tournaments and golf. Apparently he was a phenomenal golfer.

    His pattern was always the same; he’d throw the early sets or the early holes then insist on raising the stakes. Then he’d roar back for to win the richer pot.

    With King he took the opposite approach. He trained hard before his match with Margaret Court and he just destroyed her. Then as his own son admits he stopped training and just drank and partied all night. He was, according to a close friend and fellow pro of Riggs at a Miami area country club, heavily in debt to the mob. The $100k payday wouldn’t have been enough to wipe out his debt. I don’t know if Riggs himself bet on Billie Jean King, then a distant underdog after Riggs shellacked Court, but the mobsters did.

    Riggs had to make it look good, like he wasn’t trying to throw the game. King herself refused to believe he was tanking, because he looked like he was really trying. No doubt he was really trying. But after months of “prepping” for the match by drinking and partying like a frat boy on Spring Break he had put himself in such lousy physical condition it didn’t matter how hard he tried. There was no way he could go the distance.

    I find the story interesting, as well as this Williams/McEnroe thing, because when I retired from the Navy as an old man of 46 I was still scoring outstanding on the annual physical fitness test. Not outstanding as pro-rated for my age. It was outstanding for a 20 year old man.

    It wasn’t a competition, but I’d be out there with 20 year olds, men and women, and while there were lots of younger men who were far, far better athletes than me I wasn’t impressed with the athletic abilities of the young women out there. And some of them were NCAA varsity athletes in college. I had always heard that some women are just as strong and just as fast as men, but in 20 years I never encountered one who was remotely like that. Maybe if I had met an Olympic or pro-level athlete I’d have met a woman who was close to as fast or as strong as I was (After eight years in retirement and being about Bobby Riggs age I’ve let myself go some, but not entirely). But Olympic-level or pro athletes don’t join the military. Well under one percent of women who are competitive in college basketball go on to the WNBA.

    I find it interesting because the powers-that-be will probably come up with some carve-out to preserve women’s sports. Women simply aren’t competitive against men. We see that in a variety of sports where our deluded liberal overlords are allowing the “transgendered” (in scare quotes because, mammalian biology to outer space, while you can carve your body up all you want you can’t change a man into a woman or vice versa) to compete. From high school track and field to pro MMA fighter Fallon Fox. The men, whether just taking estrogen or complete post-op monstrosities, just dominate. The women can’t even compete against even the geldings. FAllon Fox knocked out one of her early opponents so early and so hard that Fox gave her a concussion and broke her eye socket. There’s video of it on YouTube but I don’t particularly enjoy watching a neutered, surgically modified male beating up a woman.

    But that will have to change because the same powers-that-be who will likely try to save something of women’s sports insist women belong in direct ground combat. That’s insane. I don’t even believe women belong on combat ships. I give you the USS Fitzgerald. There’s something about the story we’re getting that stinks to high heaven; it makes zero sense. But the fact of the matter is there must be a a big whole below the waterline and a cracked keel. The ship was in a hair’s breadth of foundering. I’m not going out on much of a limb here but there simply couldn’t have been very many women on board. They can’t handle the damage control equipment. It’s too heavy. I haven’t seen any recent stats but in the early ’90s 90% of the female boots couldn’t handle the job of hauling damage control equipment, fire hoses, etc., up and down ladders.

    I doubt it has changed much. You can’t miniturize that stuff as it needs be a certain size to have the capacity to get the job done.

    Yeah, I’m sure it hasn’t. In 2014 the FDNY dropped its physical skills test because of the low female hiring rate. I don’t know how many fire stations there are in NYC but you could search long and hard before finding a single female of the three dozen or so who had actually passed the requirement.

    I’ll let you all in on a dirty little secret. My uncle was a battalion chief in a major west coast fire department. He wasn’t always a battalion chief, of course, but even in my earliest childhood memories I don’t remember him ever being a regular firefighter. Firefighters and cops used to gather around his kitchen table and they’d talk about the issues of the day. Back then one of the issues was that they were being forced to hire women, and that meant lowering the standards. It didn’t make the firefighting equipment any lighter, though, and the women couldn’t handle it.

    When women were out of earshot they called the female hires “firewatchers.” Only the men were actually firefighters.

    And they still say the same thing today.

    But let’s save women’s sports because that’s more important than life or death!

She’s a turn-off.

Always was.

Tennis, as with most other physical sports is heavily strength dependent. And, like it or not, human males have more muscle tissue, both pound for pound [of body weight] and in the upper body muscle groups [which are used in such s[ports as tennis] than human women do. So, it is almost impossible for women to compete with men, in these endeavors, all other factors being equal. For this reason, we have different categories for men and women competitors in many sports. We have different physical performance requirements in jobs requiring certain levels of physical strength so that women can “pass” the physical requirements of the job. It is what it is. Male and female humans were not meant to compete against one another, but to compliment one another. Teamwork is what has placed the human race at the pointy end of the food chain.

Bellerophon | June 27, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Sorry, Williams vs. Federer would not be close.

“Within 1.0 point of your own rating, you should be competitive,” says former Harvard player Rick Devereux and tournament director for the UTR Boston Open.

Roger Federer (16.26) and Novak Djokovic (16.27) both surpass the top of scale while Serena Williams holds a 13.34

The evolution of sex realized in gender performance. Mother Nature can be a witch when She chooses.

filiusdextris | June 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm

I find it interesting that for the past couple of years, there wasn’t a single woman in the top 100 worldwide chess players. Recently, Hou Yifan of China moved into this class. Still #2 woman is only ranked #298 currently. This is not to take away from the dignity or awesomeness of women, or to say that someday some woman won’t be #1 in chess, tennis, etc.. It’s just that we tend to have different gifts, and that’s ok – it’s not discriminatory to say otherwise.

In most of the non-majors, I think that the men play best 2 out of 3 sets. In the majors, they play best 3 out of 5. And there are some men who are not physically ready for that 5th set.

How about the women play 3 out of 5 for a while? If they do that, then perhaps, you could start comparing tennis games.

Boys and men who want to be girls and women are starting to win female sports competitions.

OllBlueEyes | June 27, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Could a top female tennis player beat a semi-pro male tennis player? Maybe, just maybe….if it’s two out of three sets.
99.5% percent of MEN couldn’t hang with running side to side for FIVE sets, for at least three or four hours with the world’s best.

Feminism seems to have a lot of time on its hands for whatever reason. Obviously it’s just one of those fun sports questions like could Muhammad Ali beat Max Baer or how would Jackie Robinson play in today’s MLB, but of course people have to read bias into it.

My question is, given that McEnroe is a tennis pro and expert, does anyone who is criticizing him have a better answer? I think not.

Sorry, but I have been following and playing tennis since Everet and Navratilova. Yes, Serena is INCREDIBLE. Without a doubt the best woman in tennis, ever.

But she was not being humble. If she had to climb the men’s ladder, she would be losing to men no one has ever heard off.

From Wikipedia “Battle of the Sexes”

1998: Karsten Braasch vs. the Williams sisters
Another event dubbed a “Battle of the Sexes” took place during the 1998 Australian Open[34] between Karsten Braasch and the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world’s top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both. Braasch was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager”.[35][36] The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park,[37] after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two beers. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.[38] Braasch said afterwards, “500 and above, no chance”. He added that he had played like someone ranked 600th in order to keep the game “fun”.[39] Braasch said the big difference was that men can chase down shots much easier, and that men put spin on the ball that the women can’t handle. The Williams sisters adjusted their claim to beating men outside the top 350.

This is really a dumb argument. In any athletic event that’s measurable men will do better than woman. 100 yard dash, high jump, poll vault, the mile etc. Men are bigger, stronger and faster. It’s a biological fact. This became an issue because of transgender former male athletes winning woman’s events, who couldn’t compete as men against men. Does anyone want to see woman competing against men? I know I don’t.

What is all this men and women thing you speak of? What about all the other genders?

The Packetman | June 28, 2017 at 9:05 am

I remember reading an interview of Martina Navratilova, back when she was at the top of her game (and training with the Dallas Cowboys). She was asked if she thought she could beat the #50-ranked man and she replied that she couldn’t beat the #500-ranked man.

I can’t remember what the publication was but I know it wasn’t a tennis magazine because a real tennis mag wouldn’t have asked such a stupid question.

“It’s hard to say who would win: Serena vs. Roger, Serena vs. Novak Djokovic, Serena vs. Rafael Nadal? Either way, Serena could easily play all of them for 5 sets and would not be surprised if she emerged victorious.”

Mary. Come on. That is wildly inaccurate on a global scale. Its difficult to think of a more wildly inaccurate and uninformed statement ever being made on LI.

And BTW Serena’s record has not yet surpassed Steffi Graf because she did not win the calender year grand slam. Serena might eclipse Graf despite that if she can win a couple more slam titles but until then Graf has the better record.

    Ozymandias in reply to garybritt. | June 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Serena has faced nowhere near the competition that Graf had to deal with. Seles, Evert, Navratilova, Hingis, the Williams sisters. Three generations of greats and she dispatched them all. Other than Venus and Henin, Serena has played a bunch of mentally weak nobodies during her prime. Should we hold that against her? I don’t think so. You play who is in front of you.

    “It’s hard to say who would win: Serena vs. Roger, Serena vs. Novak Djokovic, Serena vs. Rafael Nadal? Either way, Serena could easily play all of them for 5 sets and would not be surprised if she emerged victorious.”

    Literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on Legal Insurrection.

I don’t think she would rate in the 700’s (higher) but here is a big difference from a men’s game and women’s game if you track the speed of the serves and return volley’s. She is even on record as stating the mens game it at a much higher level. She is superb athlete but there is a huge difference between male and female tennis.

BTW: Bobby Riggs was over the hill when he played Billy Jean King.