Billie Jean King weighs in on the controversial McEnroe-Williams debate
King said that McEnroe has been seeking a match with Williams "for years."
Days after former tennis star John McEnroe's controversialon the men's tour, Billie Jean King lent her opinion on the Boomer & Carton show, saying that the top women couldn't beat the top men, and no one would argue otherwise. She also said that Williams would be better than No. 700 in passing, and that women aren't properly quoted in these debates. One of King's other assertions was that McEnroe has been seeking a match with Williams "for 15 years."
After Boomer Esiason said that McEnroe handled the questions poorly, King stepped in. "We never said we're better than the guys in any way," she said. "But ... I think she'd be better than 700 but ... the best women cannot beat the best men ... ever. So we never argued that."
King pressed on, adding: "If you go back to any of the women's quotes. ... Everybody always quotes the men unfortunately. They don't quote us. Our quote is that we're never gonna beat them. We don't have the androgen that guys have, we don't have testosterone, [men] have bigger hearts. ... It's a deal. Physically there's no question."
After Esiason asked if McEnroe was accurate, King said that whether or not he was accurate wasn't exactly the point. "He's trying to get a match with Serena, OK? He's been trying for 15 years." King, who played in one of the most famous matches of all time against Bobby Riggs in 1973, was the only female professional player to win her respective "Battle of the Sexes." Margaret Court had lost to Riggs earlier that year, and in 1992, Martina Navratilnova lost to Jimmy Connors. Although the legitimacy of King's win has been questioned by some -- rumors say that Riggs threw the match to settle a gambling debt to the mob, which has been denied by those close to Riggs -- its effects on the status of women's tennis were undeniable.
When Carton asked if McEnroe could beat Williams, King took a Socratic approach. "I don't know," she said. King went on to explain how the match with her and Riggs came to be, with Riggs asking player after player until Court agreed. When Court lost, King said that she thought to herself "'I don't have a choice.' And then I knew it was about social change." Don't expect a Williams-McEnroe match-up any time soon, however, as Williams has said that she's too busy for pickup style matches.
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