McEnroe won’t apologize for Williams comment
Tennis icon John McEnroe says he has no intention of apologizing to Serena Williams or her upset fans over recent comments he made about her chances of succeeding on the men’s tour.
A weekend interview with NPR to promote his new book “But Seriously” included a question about Williams’ possibly being the best player in the world. His assertion that she would be ranked 700th if she played with men elicited a wave of criticism on social media and a personal rebuke from Williams.
“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,” Williams tweeted Monday. “Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”
McEnroe appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday to discuss his book and the controversy, where hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell prompted him for an apology.
“Would you like to apologize?” O’Donnell asked. “No,” replied McEnroe.
The hosts then peppered him with questions about why he would deign to answer NPR’s question in the first place. “What do you think, Charlie? You’re a tennis guy,” the 58-year-old replied. “You like to play tennis. I see you on the court. What do you think Serena Williams would be ranked if she played in the men’s league?”
Rose refused to answer the question. “I have no idea,” he said.
“Why don’t you combine — just solve the problem. I’m sure the men would be all for this: the men and women play together,” McEnroe said. “And then we don’t have to guess.”