Sexist Tennis Legend Says Serena Would Rank 700th If She Was A Man

"That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player," John McEnroe said after claiming Serena Williams wouldn't be a top player if she was a man.

Serena Williams poses while holding up her champion's trophy and a stuffed koala bear

UPDATE: John McEnroe appeared as a guest on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert Tuesday night where he addressed his now-infamous sexist comments about Serena Williams. 

While he admitted his "big mouth" got him into hot water with Williams, her fans, feminists, and many others, he doubled down on his assertion that Williams' undeniable talent doesn't match up to her male counterparts. 

While explaining his point of view to Colbert, McEnroe stuck his foot in his mouth yet again when he used WNBA players in an analogy, but referred to them as "girl basketball players." 

Colbert quickly corrected him by emphasizing that they should be referred to as "women basketball players." 

Nevertheless, McEnroe stuck to his guns — so to speak — and did not apologize for his remarks about Williams. He also joked that since Williams is currently pregnant, he has an even stronger chance at beating her in a match. 

"She's pregnant so maybe I should play her now," McEnroe said, noting that his own daughters disagreed with his perspective.

Although McEnroe was asked to speak on the controversy surrounding his statements, if he wasn't planning to apologize, he should have respected Williams' previous request for him to keep his baseless opinions of her to himself. 

Watch the complete interview in the clip below. 

UPDATE: Serena Williams eventually responded to male tennis legend John McEnroe's claims that she would be ranked "like 700 in the world" if she were a male tennis player. 

Williams took to Twitter to gracefully shut down McEnroe's unfounded assertion in a way that only she can. 

In a nutshell, Williams very politely told McEnroe to back off, and with that, we say: 


Tennis legend John McEnroe had some insulting remarks about current female tennis star and soon-to-be mother Serena Williams.

While promoting his new book in an interview on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” McEnroe asserted that if Williams “played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world,” after being asked by host Lulu Garcia-Navarro about why he tends to specify that Williams is the “best female player ever.”

"Yeah. That doesn't mean I don't think Serena's, like, an incredible player. I do, but there's 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," he continued.

"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," he added.

He later noted that he believes in the possibility of a female athlete, one day, being able to surpass her male counterparts.

“Maybe at some point a women's tennis player can be better than anybody,” he said. “I just haven't seen it in any other sport, and I haven't seen it in tennis. I suppose anything's possible at some stage.”

Williams is undoubtedly a magnificent athlete, which she has proven time and time again. Yet, as a woman, she is not exempt from male criticism based on misogynistic views of women being inferior to men.

Williams hasn’t responded to McEnroe’s comments, but Twitter did for her.

Nevertheless, Williams is well aware of the judgment she faces because she is a woman. In a ESPN interview from December, she addressed the sexism in professional sports, arguing that if she were a man, she would have “been considered the greatest ever a long time ago.”

Listen to McEnroe's interview below. His comments about Williams begin around the 6:20 mark.

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