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Saturday, July 1, 2017

McEnroe Vs. Williams

McEnroe Vs. Williams

A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!

John McEnroe was a great tennis player, probably one of the top twenty to ever play the game.  I never really liked him that much.  He was a bit of a baby, complaining about every call and he threw tantrums almost every match.  I do have to admit I watched him a lot; he was entertaining.

Serena Williams is a great tennis player, possible the greatest female player to ever play the game.

Recently McEnroe was being interviewed, I believe because he is releasing a new book, and he was asked about Serena Williams.  He said unequivocally that she is the best woman tennis player ever.

He was then asked how he thought Serena, the best woman tennis player ever, would do competing with men.  McEnroe said she would probably would not be ranked in the top 700.  The media got very upset.  How dare McEnroe claim Serena, the best woman’s tennis player ever, not be ranked better than 700 in men’s tennis?

There have been countless movies and TV shows where women easily defeat men in competitive events.  As a matter of fact, I can hardly think of a movie or TV show today where woman do not consistently outperform men in just about everything. 

It has been pounded into our psyche that men are stupid and lazy and cannot compete with woman at anything.  Now McEnroe claims that the very best woman to ever play the game could not be competitive with any of the best 700 men today.  This is heresy. 

If I was Mr. McEnroe’s publicist, I would have recommended a better answer.  An answer that would not imply that a woman could never compete on an equal footing with a man in most sports.  That is unacceptable!   I would have had him say, “Serena is great, it would be interesting to see how well she might do on the men’s tour.” That would be the politically correct answer that would not upset anyone.

McEnroe has never been politically correct.  It is his feeling that Serena is successful because at 5’9” tall and maybe 160 pounds, she easily overpowers her female competitors.  On the men’s tour, 5’9” and 160 pounds is tiny, undoubtedly smaller than any of the top 700 male players, so she could not win with her strength.

Speed is important in tennis.  Serena is fast.  She may be almost as fast as some top men players.  Tennis can also be a mental game, Serena is probably as mentally strong and knowledgeable about tennis tactics as any of the very best men players…how would her mental strength stand up when her main strength, size and power were no longer anywhere near that of her opponents?

How would Serena, the best woman to ever play the game do on the men’s tour?

I think politically incorrect McEnroe is right.  Serena would probably not win on the men’s tour.  She would probably be embarrassed. 

The tennis world is demanding McEnroe apologize for answering a question about his opinion with his real opinion.  He will not, that is not who he is.

Regardless of what many movies and TV shows would tell you, women have a distinct physical disadvantage against men in most athletic endeavors.   When the best play the best, women cannot compete against men.  It is not a crime to say that, it is just a fact.

Could Serena play against a very good country club player?  Hell yes, she would clean the clock of almost any amateur, but against a men’s professional? 

I think Serena is a terrific tennis player.

I think John McEnroe is a jerk.

The jerk is right, Serena could not consistently beat a single player on the men’s tour.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.


A little research found this tidbit that backs up McEnroe:

1998: Karsten Braasch vs. the Williams sisters[edit]

Another event dubbed a "Battle of the Sexes" took place during the 1998 Australian Open[34] between Karsten Braasch and the Williams sistersVenus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world's top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both. Braasch was described by one journalist as "a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager".[35][36] The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park,[37] after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two beers. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.[38] Braasch said afterwards, "500 and above, no chance". He added that he had played like someone ranked 600th in order to keep the game "fun".[39] Braasch said the big difference was that men can chase down shots much easier, and that men put spin on the ball that the women can't handle. The Williams sisters adjusted their claim to beating men outside the top 350.


  1. Serena Williams is certainly in today's news, her car driving 'accident' doesn't give her a good press. I agree she is a great tennis player but something about her stops me from watching. Gone are the Martina days which I loved. As for McEnroe, he knows his tennis all right but in his playing days he acted like a spoilt teenager... sometimes funny, sometimes irritating.

    1. It is Venus, who had the accident, Serena's sister.

  2. The biggest and best men will always be bigger than the women and likely able to outperform them based on that alone, it's just a physical fact.

  3. I don't follow tennis, but you are probably right in saying men have the advantage over women on the court - also that McEnroe is a jerk.

  4. Glad to see that nobody is bringing up Riggs vs Bobby Jean King as an example. Riggs was in the category of a good club player.

  5. I agree with McEnroe and I hope he doesn't apologize. People need to get over it, men and women are not now, nor ever will be equal.

  6. I refuse to be baited by this opinion.

  7. No one should ever apologize for their opinions, if you are forced to change your opinion to suit someone else then it is no longer your opinion, McEnroe should not apologize, that's just my opinion.

  8. Think he was trying to stir up another Riggs/King money maker. Guess he forgot how that one turned out.

    1. Like Mike said, and Riggs was 55 yo. McEnroe at 58 would give Serena a good match, but I don't think he would win. It might be interesting. Pretty sure McEnroe could not compete with any of the top 700 men players either.

  9. I don't know. She could beat me.

  10. I thought McEnroe had mellowed over the years but he still seems to be as arrogant as ever.

  11. I think your blog is the only place people are allowed to have opinions anymore.

    My mom loved to watch the Williamses as much as she loved to watch her baseball Cardinals. Even she would have agreed that Serena could not beat the men.

  12. I think you're spot on. Serena is tall, fast, lightweight and strong, against her female competitors. Against male players, her only strength would be speed and of course they are probably equally fast, so Serena would play well, but not win against top rated players.

  13. I always wondered if McEnroe was a real jerk or if that was just his celebrity persona. I suppose since we'll never know we'll have to buy what he'd peddling. He's a jerk.

  14. The whole "controversy" was so dumb. I *LOVE* Serena, but Mcenroe wasn't wrong in saying she wouldnt be competitive with the top male players.

    The only thing i take issue with is your comment that pop culture always shows women beating men in competitions - I'm having trouble coming up with examples of this.

    (I love American Ninja Warrior, and while men and women compete in the national finals together, they've started to set awhile a few slots for women to make it to the local finals. Thats said, men always do much better overall on the show. It's not painted in any kind of weird way - it just is what it is. People do like watching the women be successful, just because there are so few of them.)

  15. That man have never grown up- still the arrogant, self serving jerk he has always been. Grrrrrrrr

  16. At this point in her career I think Serena would be competitive with anyone around the 200's, I think at her prime she might have been a 50/50 in that range.

    Johnny Mac is and always has been a whiny complaining snot. Having watched him for years in his prime I'm convinced he would have never quite made it to the top if not for his mastery at distraction and concentration-breaking antic laden play. Any other player would have been tossed out of multiple tourneys but somehow the tennis idiots decided to let him cheat to get an advantage. Before his time and in the time since he retired the standard tactics he employed would have cost multiple games per match but some dope decided he was 'good' for the game. What a pity, really, that color was allowed to beat talent. Just my opinion of course, but his conduct as a big-mouth has hardly changed.

  17. Personally, my humble opinion is that this whole thing went wrong when McEnroe was asked how the best woman tennis player ever would do competing with men. Why does nobody ever think to ask him how the best woman tennis player ever would do competing with men when challenged to, oh, let's say, produce breast milk?

    Men and women are different physically, some things women will never be able to do as well as men (AND vice versa). Why do we insist on comparing them on the differences?

    I liked your answer - you should be McEnroe's publicist. Think of all the blog material you'd have then. ;-)