01 July 2017

You cannot be serious, John McEnroe — Serena Williams is a star and doesn’t need to prove it

WHEN I read reports of John McEnroe’s comments about Serena Williams, I thought: “He cannot be serious!”

Especially since I read an interview with him two weeks ago where he called himself a “proud feminist” when he criticised the gender pay gap in professional tennis.

John McEnroe has come under fire for his comments towards Serena Williams
John McEnroe has come under fire for his comments towards Serena Williams
Getty Images

But he put paid to that fantasy this week as he said — apropos of nothing — that if Serena Williams was to play the men’s tennis circuit: “She’d be, like, 700 in the world.”

To add insult to injury, he also said he’d probably still beat her if he were to play her now.

Sorry, but what?

This is a 58-year old man who is retired from tennis — but still reckons he could beat reigning Wimbledon champ Serena.


Serena Williams will be unable to defend her Wimbledon title this summer as she is pregnant
Serena Williams will be unable to defend her Wimbledon title this summer as she is pregnant
Getty Images

McEnroe, who has won seven tennis grand slams, did concede that Serenawho has won 23, the last in Australia, while pregnant — was “the best female player ever”.

It’s just that he couldn’t resist making the point that, against men, it would be an “entirely different story”.

Serena’s accomplishments also include, by the way, Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles, and £64million prize money.

But all of that is neither here nor there to McEnroe, who clearly believes true greatness would only be hers if she beat a male tennis player.

At best, McEnroe’s comments lack respect.

They definitely lack class.

Serena, is the best female tennis player ever.

Serena Williams is regarded as the greatest ever female tennis player
Getty Images

Just as heavyweight boxers compete with those of their ilk, when she competes with those in her field, she is the best she can be.

McEnroe’s comments are belittling — a sneaky, nasty put-down.

They smack of male supremacy.

You know: “It’s all very well winning against the weaker sex, luv, but let’s see how you fare against the real athletes.”

He’s not the first to make this observation.

John McEnroe’s comments are arrogant and dismissive, says Karren Brady

When former ladies’ No1 Billy Jean King was in her prime she was told by tennis player Bobby Riggs that she could never outplay a man.

Their subsequent “battle of the sexes” exhibition match was watched by 90million. She trounced him.

He knows he is a washed-up old has-been so is trying to harness the name of Serena — who is vibrant, strong and powerful

Karren BradySun Columnist

In an attempt to relive that moment, McEnroe has now proposed a men-versus-women contest.

Serena is probably a bit busy, given she’s ready to have a baby.

But also, isn’t it annoying she has to even entertain such a challenge from a man famous for the tantrums he had on court when things didn’t go to his liking?

Feminism aside, when you look at physiology, it’s not a fair challenge.

Serena Williams has hit back at John McEnroe after he claimed she would be ranked 700 in the men's tour
Serena Williams has hit back at John McEnroe after he claimed she would be ranked 700 in the men’s tour

According to Psychology Today, men are, on average, taller and have more muscle mass, stronger bones, tendons and ligaments, plus bigger hearts, greater lung volume and a higher red blood cell count.

Men are built in a different way to women, which is why they don’t compete against each other.

But to deduce from this that men are “better” at tennis is — and I’m being charitable — pretty half-witted.

To be the best woman in tennis takes just as much effort, dedication, skill, determination and passion as it takes to be the best man.

McEnroe’s comments are just ignorant.

If he were the feminist he claims to be, he would celebrate Serena’s success without the need to qualify it against those of her male peers.

The fact that he is currently trying to promote a book makes this an even lower blow.

He knows he is a washed-up old has-been so is trying to harness the name of Serena — who is vibrant, strong and powerful.


Serena Williams won her 23 Grand Slam title this year at the Australian Open
Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title this year at the Australian Open
Getty Images

Williams, by the way, responded to McEnroe with far more courtesy than he even half deserved, 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.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Honestly, what a numpty!

John McEnroe says Serena Williams would be ranked 700th in men's tennis

Net value of good mother

MY heart really went out to Judy Murray this week when she said in an interview that throughout her two sons’ upbringing people thought of her as a “nightmare, pushy mother”.

Would a father who wanted the best for his kids have been cast in the same way, I can’t help but ask?

Judy Murray says she is unsure whether Andy Murray will be fit to play Wimbledon
Has Judy Murray been perceived unfairly by the public?
Richard Pelham

It’s a whole lot less easy if they are talentless!

But that’s another story.

The most important thing, and all any of us really want for our children, is for them to be happy.

It’s pretty obvious that Judy did her absolute best for her two sons, of that there is no question.

I do have one question though. Where was their dad in all this?

Exit deal needs the business

SO, now that Brexit negotiations have finally begun, we’re all on tenterhooks about what’s going to happen next.

But there is one important question many people have little clue about.

And that is: Who is actually, and specifically, in the negotiating team?

David Davies left Brexit talks in Brussels to fly to Madrid
David Davies has been leading the Brexit talks, but should the best British businessmen and women be doing so instead?
Getty Images

One thing I have really learned in business is that any deal is only as good as the person negotiating it.

Personally, I would assemble the best of British businessmen and women to lead the strategy.

After all, this is what we do every single day.

Having the strongest team of respected, leading business people will give the country huge confidence that we will get the best deal.

It makes no sense to leave it to just civil servants or politicians, who often have very limited business experience.

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, a once-in-a-lifetime deal. So we have to get it right, first time.

Or else we have to live with the consequences.

Anthony bucks up uni mark

Sir Anthony Seldon's influence at the University of Buckingham is paying off
Times Newspapers Ltd

I WAS not surprised to see the University of Buckingham score the highest marks in a survey of teaching excellence.

This has everything to do with Sir Anthony Seldon – one of the most inspirational educational leaders this country has, who recently moved to the university.

They are lucky to have him.

Celine is just load of pants

FASHION is such a fickle friend.

One day an outfit looks cutting-edge and cool.

Fashion disaster… what was Celine Dion thinking?

Almost the next, you risk looking a bit more like a comedy act – as evidenced by Celine Dion, who was working the dungaree look the other day.

Except her dungarees, were more like the kind of waders you’d wear if you were working in an abattoir.

Fashion clash 2

JUST as you thought that “fashion” had taken the biscuit, along come leggings that look like hairy legs, a spotty bottom or like you are wearing no clothes at all.

I mean, seriously – why?

Hairy leggings… why would anyone wear these?

It’s “comedy” clothes . . . but where’s the funny?

Who on earth thought this up must be a bit . . . weird!

I READ this letter in a local newspaper about the importance of accuracy in your tax return.

In response to the question: “Do you have anyone dependent on you?”, the man wrote: “2.1million illegal immigrants, 1.1million crackheads, 4.4million unemployable Jeremy Kyle scroungers, 90,000 criminals in over 85 prisons, plus 650 idiots in Parliament and the whole of the European Commission.”

HMRC stated that the answer was unacceptable.

The man’s response to HMRC was: “Who did I miss out?”

Thanks but no spanx

WHO’D be a “momager” if it means you have to wear a suit of Spanx armour under your clothes to keep up appearances?

Kris Jenner was snapped recently showing her rather unglamorous all-over catsuit underneath.

Even in her 60s Kris Jenner is determined to keep her figure
Splash News

Given how difficult it is to get into one of those things, it’s easy to wonder how, at the age of 61, she can be fagged.

Surely one of the perks of hitting your 60s is being allowed to embrace a size larger, and a nice elasticated waist?

Kris Jenner offers to be a surrogate for Kim Kardashian's third baby
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You cannot be serious, John McEnroe — Serena Williams is a star and doesn’t need to prove it” for 1 comment

  1. Don’t know who wrote the McEnroe stuff but it’s filled with inaccuracies. McEnroe never suggested he could beat Williams today. That is a fictional assertion. As is the claim that McEnroe’s comments were “apropos nothing.” In reality, he responded to a specific question about Williams’ place in the tennis pantheon, and it was the interviewer who felt the need to complain about his answer. Far from “ignorant” and “half-witted” McEnroe has forgotten more about tennis than the author will ever know. She wouldn’t be able to compete on the men’s tour and everyone who knows anything about the sport understands this—it’s not belittling to point it out.