Twitter

Serena Williams Would Rank 'No. 700' if She Played Against Men, Says John McEnroe

Tennis star Serena Williams is superb in defending herself on the tennis court, and it seems defending herself against sexist and racist banter off the court has become second nature.


Monday night, Williams, who is ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and several Olympic gold medals, had to check former tennis pro John McEnroe on Twitter because in an interview he questioned her ability to defeat professional men’s tennis players.

“If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” McEnroe said.

Williams tweeted:

McEnroe, 58, is a former tennis champion who is one of the leading titleholders of all time, and also known for his temperamental outbursts. When he was 20, he was nicknamed “Superbrat” by the British tabloids, according to ESPN.

In a recent interview with NPR, journalist Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked McEnroe about his mention of Williams in his new book.

“We’re talking about male players but there is of course wonderful female players,” she said. “Let’s talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.”

“Best female player ever no question,” McEnroe replied.

“Some wouldn’t qualify it, some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it” Garcia-Navarro said.

“Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period” he replied.

“Yeah, the best tennis player in the world,” Garcia-Navarro said. “You know, why say female player”

“Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” McEnroe said.

He then goes on to explain his answer:

“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.”

Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked McEnroe whether he’d like to apologize. And he replied, “No.”

Williams, 35, is engaged to Alexis Ohanian, 33, the co-founder of Reddit. She saidApril 19 on Snapchatthat the two are expecting their first child.

Also in April, she had to publicly respond to former French and U.S. Open champion Ilie Nastase’s racist remarks about the couple’s unborn baby.

Williams continues to stand up for herself and for women at-large. She announced last week that she is the new ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse.

The tennis starintends to raise awareness of the often-invisible role economic abuse plays in keeping women in abusive relationships. Allstate (isNo. 33on theDiversityInc Top 50 Companieslist) began the foundation in 2005 to provide financial empowerment to domestic abuse victims.

McEnroe’s sexist comments are comparable to Raymond Moore’s remarks last year about women.

Moore resigned from his position of CEO and tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open following comments, such women tennis players “should be down on their knees” to show gratitude to men.

“When I come back in my next life I want to be someone in the [Women’s Tennis Association] because they ride on the coattails of the men,” Moore said.

“If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport.”

Williams publicly shunned his statements:

“Obviously I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that,” Williams said. “I think Venus, myself, a number of players if I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister I couldn’t even bring up that number.So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement.”

She added, “I think there is a lot of women out there who are more are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

tractor in field

White Farmers Sue To Stop Debt Relief Program for Farmers of Color

A federal judge in Wisconsin has temporarily halted a government program designed to help chronically disadvantaged farmers of color repay their loans — or forgive their debt altogether. Laura Schulte of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that “a temporary restraining order was handed down Thursday afternoon [June 10] by Judge…

stock exchange

Fortune 500 List 2021 Includes Record Number of Black Women and Female CEOs

When Fortune magazine announced its annual Fortune 500 list ranking the 500 largest United States corporations by total revenue last week, there were a couple of notable and historic inclusions. The list contained more female CEOs — particularly Black female CEOs — than ever before. Taylor Dunn of ABC News…

Emancipation Proclamation

Illinois Museum To Host Juneteenth Exhibit and Display a Rare, Signed Copy of Emancipation Proclamation

As we draw closer to this year’s Juneteenth celebrations on June 19, marking the 156th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States, an Illinois museum has announced that it will help to mark the occasion by putting a rare, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on display…

Keystone XL PIpeline

Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline — Opposed by Indigenous Populations and Environmentalists Alike — Officially Killed

The Keystone XL Pipeline, a project equally reviled by environmentalists as well as the country’s Indigenous populations, is officially dead. Reuters has reported that the “$9 billion oil pipeline [that] became a symbol of the rising political clout of climate change advocates, and a flashpoint in U.S.-Canada relations was officially…

Jacksonville Florida's Acosta Bridge

Jacksonville, Florida City Officials Restore Pride Month Lights on Local Bridge Following Community Backlash

It’s been a colorful week of back and forth for city officials in Jacksonville, Florida. On Monday, June 7, the city debuted a decorative rainbow-light colored theme in downtown Jacksonville to help usher in Pride Month celebrations. The lights mimicked similar red, white and blue displays from previous months that…