John McEnroe has come under fire for his comments about Serena Williams ranking No. 700 if she played on the men's tour, but he isn't backing down. In an appearance with "CBS This Morning," McEnroe offered up an "easy" solution to the question that definitely isn't a logistical nightmare for professional athletes that are constantly preparing for tours. When he was asked if he'd like to apologize for his comments about Williams, McEnroe instead suggested men and women playing matches.
This was a convenient suggestion for McEnroe to make, particularly because Williams herself said that she doesn't have time for these matches in her response Monday night. Furthermore, the root of the problem with what McEnroe is saying isn't even in the what, it's in the how. Indeed, Williams herself has agreed with McEnroe in the past, and McEnroe is very earnest in the video above. He seems perturbed by the fact that women have to be compared to men in the first place, but when he goes on and makes suggestions for things that can't happen and it comes off the wrong way. See Williams speak about playing Andy Murray back in 2013 below. The comments in question are at about the 4:30 time-stamp in the video.
The notable comments are:
"Actually it's funny, because Andy Murray, he's been joking about myself and him playing a match. I'm like, 'Andy, seriously, are you kidding me?' For me, mens' tennis and womens' tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it's true. It's a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it's just a different game. I love to play women's tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don't want to be embarrassed. I would not do the tour, I would not do Billie Jean any justice. So Andy, stop it. I'm not going to let you kill me."
It seems more likely that Williams feels that she's being used to sell books more than her feelings are hurt about McEnroe's comments. She has been very focused on taking care of herself, and seeing her name in the news in this way is possibly the last thing Williams needs. The bottom-line is, it's unlikely we're going to see a Williams-Federer match-up any time soon, and Williams just wants McEnroe to leave her out of his promotional tour.