Serena Williams clapped back at former tennis pro John McEnroe on Monday after he blasted her on NPR over the weekend. But despite putting her name in his mouth, McEnroe doesn’t think it’s unnecessary to apologize.
During the former athlete’s chat on the program on Sunday, he suggested that if Williams “played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.”
He explained, “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player … 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.”
Williams eventually hopped on Twitter to call out the 58-year-old, writing: “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.”
Naturally, one would think an apology was to follow, but nope. During an appearance on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, John said that an apology was not warranted. “I didn’t know it would create controversy,” he said.
He continued, “I respect Serena very much so and I was simply calling her on NPR—which supposedly this is where you can say it like it is and you’re gonna get honest feedback—she’s the greatest player, female player, that’s ever lived.”
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