New Delhi, June 27: Former Tennis star and now pundit John McEnroe has set off a firestorm in the Tennis world with his recent comments on arguably the best female Tennis player of all time, Serena Williams.
McEnroe said that Serena Williams, who boasts an amazing 23 career grand-slams during herr illustrious career, would have struggled to be inside ‘top 700’ if she had played Men’s Tennis.
The 7-time Grand Slam winner said, ‘That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player, and I suppose anything’s possible; maybe at some point a women’s tennis player can be better than anybody.’
He added: ‘I just haven’t seen that in any other sport, and I haven’t seen it in tennis. If she had to just play the men’s circuit, it would be an entirely different story.’
‘The reality of what would happen on a given day is Serena could beat some players, I believe, because she is so incredibly strong mentally,” McEnroe said.
‘She could overcome some situations where players would choke because she’s been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, the US Open, etc.”
Serena herself made a reply to his countryman via Twitter saying that, ‘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.’
For a sportsman of McEnroe’s stature, the comments he made sound extremely dubious while it might be just a publicity stunt to promote his new book. We have seen many making foolish claims earlier as well when it is about promoting his new books and McEnroe was probably trying that.
Meanwhile, Dmitri Tursunov, 34, now ranked 701 in Men’s Tennis and once ranked as high as 20th in the world, believes that he could also beat the US Tennis queen.
The Russian told BBC World Service Sport he did not think McEnroe was ‘trying to talk women’s tennis down’ but said ‘the reality’ was that ‘men are stronger in general’.
‘I would hope that I would win against Serena,’ he added.
‘It would be a similar argument to: who would run faster, the fastest woman or the fastest man? Tennis is becoming more and more a physical sport, so it’s going to be hard for a woman to beat the men.”
‘It’s not black and white, there are lots of factors to take into account. Physically I might not be in the best shape of my life but as an overall package I’m much better than my ranking would suggest. She is pregnant, and I’m not.”
‘I’ve never heard John say anything absolutely stupid – he knows his stuff. What he said about her being an incredible player is correct – explosive, powerful and she puts in a lot of work. But I would hope that I would win.’