Serena Williams is the best female tennis player of all-time. I know that. You know that. And John McEnroe knows that. McEnroe, however, does not believe she is the best tennis player of all-time. On Sunday, while promoting his memoir, “But Seriously”, McEnroe explained himself in an interview for NPR. McEnroe said, “If she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.” He continued by saying, “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen on a given day is Serena could beat some players, I believe, because she is so incredibly strong mentally.” “But if she just had to play the circuit — the men’s circuit — that would be an entirely different story.”
McEnroe’s comments have received harsh criticism, and Monday evening, Serena responded. These are her actual tweets:
Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.
He was asked his opinion in an interview. What was he supposed to do..plead the 5th??
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
Hi again Serena,
Everyone respects the fact that you are having a baby. It is a beautiful thing. But what does that have to do with this interview?? You are Serena Williams. People talk about you. That’s like posting a pregnant picture of yourself on social media, and then asking for privacy…………..
I can understand why Serena and women in general would be bothered by this, but in order to analyze something, we must take a step back and see the whole picture. During McEnroe’s interview, NPR correspondent Lulu Garcia-Navarro brought up Serena Williams. In his book, McEnroe labeled Serena as the best female tennis player of all-time. Here is the exchange that led to McEnroe’s comments:
Garcia-Novarro: Some wouldn’t qualify it. Some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?
McEnroe: Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?
Garcia-Novarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?
As you can see, Garcia-Novarro brought up the subject, and then pressed McEnroe for a clear-cut answer. McEnroe, a tennis commentator and former tennis player gave his honest opinion (as always). What was he supposed to do, decline to answer questions on Serena Williams??
Garcia-Novarro didn’t ask if Serena is the best athlete or the most accomplished tennis player of all-time, she asked if she is the best. Asking who is ‘the best’ poses the question, who would win?? That’s where McEnroe’s answer came from. And as much as I would root for Serena to beat the 700th ranked men’s tennis player, she would lose. And I don’t think it would be close.
The advantages a men’s player of this caliber would have over Serena in terms of power, speed, and quickness would be too much for her to handle. But, that is not the issue. The issue is why ask McEnroe such a question in the first place?? While I understand Serena wants to be left out of the conversation, maybe Serena’s frustrations should be directed at the interviewer, Lulu Garcia-Novarro, rather than John McEnroe.
What do you think?? Were John McEnroe’s comments out of line, or was Lulu Garcia-Novarro simply fishing for controversy??
Post your strong opinions in the comment section below. Don’t hold back now!!
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