John McEnroe Sticks By His Serena Williams’ Ranking Despite Criticism

Ford Springer | Reporter

John McEnroe is sticking by his claim that Serena Williams would rank about the 700th best tennis player in the world if she had to play on the men’s circuit.

The former tennis player made the controversial comment in an interview with NPR on Sunday while promoting his new memoir, “But Seriously.” McEnroe said that Serena was the “best female player ever–no question,” but if she played with the men it “would be an entirely different story.”

The comments from the seven-time major champion brought on some criticism, of course, and a pregnant Williams even weighed in on the statement. (RELATED: John McEnroe Just Ranked Serena Williams As A Tennis Player And She’s Nowhere Near The Top)

Despite Serena’s response, McEnroe stood by his comments on CBS “This Morning” and said that he didn’t think it would spark controversy.

“I respect Serena very much so and I was simply calling her on NPR—which supposedly this is where you can say it like it is and you’re gonna get honest feedback—she’s the greatest player, female player, that’s ever lived.”

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Issei Kato)

McEnroe said his initial comments coming from his perspective as a former pro who is constantly asked whether he thinks he could beat her or not. He believes he still could to this day and has a simple solution to settle the debate.

“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,” he said. “And then we don’t have to guess.”

As far as Williams tweets go, “Serena has a way with words,” McEnroe said.

“I don’t want anything to go wrong with Serena because she’s pregnant. I don’t want to upset her or whatever it was,” he admitted. “I think she was doing it tongue-in-cheek, as well, and I think that, deep down, we’re talking about something I can’t even believe we’re talking about right now.”

Ford Springer



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