Tennis legend John McEnroe called Serena Williams the greatest women’s tennis player to ever live.
For this insult, he must apologize!
McEnroe’s crime? Qualifying Serena as the greatest women’s player, and not the greatest player bar-none.
If only there was empirical data to clear this up. Oh wait, there is.
In 1998, rising superstars Venus and Serena Williams played a match against a male pro player. It didn’t turn out well for them.
From Dispatch Online:
In an impromptu ‘Battle of the Sexes’ at the Australian Open yesterday, first Serena, then Venus challenged No. 203 Karsten Braasch to a set apiece, and he beat them both.
Serena fell 6-1, Venus 6-2. They played as intensely as they could, while Braasch performed with gentlemanly restraint.
“It was extremely hard,” said the 16-year-old Serena. “I didn’t know it would be that hard. I hit shots that would have been winners on the women’s tour and he got to them easily.”
“I can beat men in the 300s and up,” [Venus] said. “He thought we couldn’t get a point. He didn’t think we could play. We showed him we could.”
“Against anyone in the top 500, no chance,” Braasch said, “because I was playing like 600 today.”
It all started a few days ago when the Williams sisters wandered into the ATP tour office at the Australian Open and boldly claimed they could beat any of the men ranked 200 or above. The bespectacled Braasch, a German who has sunk in the rankings after reaching 38 in 1994, happened to be in the office and took up the challenge.
“Everyone knew that there’s no chance for them,” [Braasch] said.
Braasch, a left-handed junk ball expert with a convoluted service motion, won the first five games against Serena. He ran her dizzy all over the court, showing her a befuddling assortment of spins.
He could have hit harder if he wanted, taken her out of points sooner, but as her unofficial coach, Nick Bollettieri, noted at courtside, “He’s being kind to her.”
Venus had as little success as Serena when the match got under way. She lost her first service game at love, managed only one point on Braasch’s serve and dropped her next serve.
“I took at least 50 percent off my serve,” Braasch said.
It should also be noted that Braasch enjoyed a few beers while playing a round of golf earlier that day.
By 2010, it seems the 1998 match against Braasch had become a distant memory when the “Battle of the Sexes” debate was brought up again.
From The Express:
McEnroe has been forced to defend himself on TV after claiming Williams would be ranked 700th in the world if she played against men.
But it appears this is not the first time the controversial American has broached the subject after a caller on BBC Radio 5 Live’s 6-Love-6 during Wimbledon 2010 asked him where the top women would fit into the men’s game.
McEnroe on that occasion suggested they might achieve a ranking of around 600 but [Andy] Murray, preparing for his second ever Wimbledon semi-final, went even further.
“I would be surprised if they were inside 1,000,” Murray told McEnroe and co-host Tim Henman.
McEnroe’s and Murray’s comments didn’t spark any controversy. In fact, Serena generally agreed with the assessment, reversing her position from her brash youth.
She told the following to David Letterman in 2013:
“For me, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. 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.”
Fast-forward to 2017, where objective truth no longer seems to exist.
This is the exact exchange in an NPR interview with Lulu Garcia-Navarro that got McEnroe in hot water:
Garcia-Navarro: We’re talking about male players but there are of course wonderful female players. Let’s talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.
McEnroe: Best female player ever — no question.
Garcia-Navarro: 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-Navarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?
McEnroe: Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.
Garcia-Navarro: You think so?
McEnroe: Yeah. 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.
McEnroe, while showering Serena with praise, answered a direct question truthfully. But in the era of safe spaces and trigger warnings, the truth is not allowed.
The truth makes you bigoted and problematic.
All of the virtue-signaling critics of McEnroe refuse to explain how he was supposed to answer the question. Instead, they just pile on and insist he apologize.
When McEnroe recently appeared on CBS, co-host Gayle King said McEnroe’s comments belittled women’s sports and that men and women shouldn’t be compared.
The maddening part about this kerfuffle is that’s precisely what McEnroe wasn’t trying to do. He was asked a specific question and he answered it honestly.
And for that he must be punished.