2017 has been one hell of a year for tennis star / clothing designer / entrepreneur / mother-to-be Serena Williams. She's at the top of her game, and if you think an insult from a male tennis player is going to bring her down, you'd be wrong. On NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, tennis player John McEnroe said Williams wouldn't rank as high against men.
Williams responded in a tweet, saying, "Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. 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."
McEnroe was on NPR to promote his new book, But Seriously. In his book, he refers to Williams as the "best female player in the world." NPR Host Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked him why he qualified the title to greatest female player rather than just greatest player, to which he replied, "Well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world." He added, "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."
He then went on to defend his line of thinking about the differences between male and female tennis players and their abilities, saying, "Maybe at some point a women's tennis player can be better than anybody. 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."
Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
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— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
On Tuesday, McEnroe went on CBS This Morning to continue his book tour, where the topic of his statements about Williams came up. McEnroe once again said he respected her, but told the hosts he didn't want to apologize to Williams.
Meanwhile, Williams has been busy showing off her baby bump on the July cover of Vanity Fair, winning her 23rd Grand Slam, joined the board of Survey Monkey, invested in food startup Daily Harvest, became the world's highest-paid female athlete and ambassador to Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse program, which raises awareness and provides aid for financial abuse in relationships. And those are just a few of the things she's been up to in the last year.
Even if men suggest she's not the greatest tennis player in the world, Williams has proved her worth on and off the court countless times.