Retired American tennis player John McEnroe suggested that Serena Williams wouldn’t stand a chance if she played on the men’s tennis circuit. On Sunday McEnroe said to US radio station NPR “If she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like, 700 in the world,” when speaking of the world number one Serena Williams, who won an open era record 23 grand-slams. McEnroe continued “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player, and I suppose anything is possible; maybe at some point a women’s tennis player can be better than anybody.”

Despite his attempt to qualify himself, Serena was having none of it and delivered an appropriately abrupt and no-nonsense response on twitter. “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based” Williams tweeted, “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’s comments are controversial to say the least, commenting that the world number one female tennis player is worthy of ranking 700th in the world. That would put Williams’ career earnings, which currently stand at $84.4m, behind Brazil’s Wilson Leite, whose earnings total $74,000, in the men’s world rankings. Russian Dmitry Tursunov, ranked 701 in the world, told the BBC “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.”

These comments are crippled with misogyny and expose some very shady opinions regarding gender equality. Maybe it is time to play mixed gender sports and prove that women are a force to be reckoned with.

Image courtesy of Serena Williams. 

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