Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

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Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Henman Bill on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 4:28 pm

Part 1: This appears to have been a radio interview given Sunday:

Garcia-Navarro: We're talking about male players but there is of course wonderful female players. Let's talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.

McEnroe: Best female player ever — no question.

Garcia-Navarro: Some wouldn't qualify it, some would say she's the best player in the world. Why qualify it?

McEnroe: Oh! Uh, she's not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?

Garcia-Navarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?

McEnroe: Well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit she'd be like 700 in the world.

Garcia-Navarro: You think so?

McEnroe: Yeah. That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it'd be a little higher, perhaps it'd be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she's so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke 'cause she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men's circuit — that would be an entirely different story.

Garcia-Navarro: Many people over the years, including, we should mention Donald Trump, the President, wanted you to play her, and you seemed to have at least thought about it.

McEnroe: Well I've thought about it. I didn't really want to do it, personally. I don't know, people always seemed — I would say why don't they go ask Roger Federer? Or someone, you know they added the old fart that's you know 25 years over the hill. And I think I can still play and I think I could still — I mean my kids don't think I can beat her anymore. Maybe I should get her now because she's pregnant, but the truth is that I think that sometimes —I don't know why in tennis, I get it's that one battle of the sexes when Bobby Riggs played Billie Jean.

Garcia-Navarro: Billie Jean one of the most famous, iconic and most watched, I think tennis matches at the time.

McEnroe: Yeah, it was no question. I think there was the most, the biggest attendance at the Houston Astrodome, and it was great that Billie Jean did that but...OK, but that doesn't mean, talk about other sports. If you go look at the times, for example, of the world's fastest females — and you know maybe it will change! You know my daughter, one the things she says is 'You're a feminist, Dad.' OK. I started with two boys, I got four girls now and I'm all for it and I'm trying to just get with it and figure it out.

Garcia-Navarro: So, you're a feminist.

McEnroe: Maybe at some point a women's tennis player can be better than anybody. I just haven't seen it in any other sport, and I haven't seen it in tennis. I suppose anything's possible at some stage.

Garcia-Navarro: You really think at 60, you could possibly beat Serena Williams? Maybe pregnant.

McEnroe: The way you put that makes me think that you have your doubts.

Part 2: Serena on Twitter Monday:
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. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir.

Part 3: Latest Mcenroe Interview:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-mcenroe-refuses-to-apologize-for-controversial-serena-williams-comments/

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Henman Bill on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 4:32 pm

Just posted this because it's useful to see the comments in full at their original source, rather than read media reports that don't show the full context.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Guest on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 5:08 pm

Henman Bill wrote:
Garcia-Navarro: We're talking about male players but there is of course wonderful female players. Let's talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.

McEnroe: Best female player ever — no question.

Garcia-Navarro: Some wouldn't qualify it, some would say she's the best player in the world. Why qualify it? ...
Absolutely no criticism for McEnroe.  It was Garcia-Navarro that went off the rails with the stupidity.

Lourdes "Lulu" Garcia-Navarro:  A highly ambitious journalist, part of a new breed of journalist that will create "news" out of nothing, where the journalist inserts themselves as being a critical part of the news and judge and jury of it.  They have helped to create the "political correctness" in todays public life in which to beat all before them while they themselves remain beyond scrutiny.  Public figures have to reproduce the political correctness in order to survive the media - thus propagating the medias ("left liberal") agenda known as progressivism.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Guest on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 5:23 pm

The BBC are wilfully covering this media created non-story - and the best assessments are from those from the general public e.g.

17.  Posted by   npower
Tennis the sport that best demonstrates inequality dressed up as equality.

The female game is well below the standard of the men's & indeed they play less games with lower audiences yet demand equal prize money etc. and get it?

True equality would mean they would play the men but of course the female game would collapse.

I bet not one of them doesn't thank God for the men & their game

47.  Posted by   Heinz Kiosk  [paraphrased]
Why does a simple statement of fact make people so angry. Facts aren't sexist.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/40408799

I personally believe the response should be a demand for a level playing field - the abolishment of the male - female category in sport.  Everybody enters the same competition male, female, disabled.  It allows people that self define themselves as gender fluid and gender neutral to compete also. It would also remove the issue of intersex athletes - that are beginning to dominate some female categories in athletics to the complaint of non-intersex females.

There have been demands for gender free awards in the entertainment industry.  That is no more male - female categories.  Everybody competes in the same gender free category.  This is the BBC's assessment: Is it time to scrap gender specific awards? By Emma Saunders Entertainment reporter
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-39513543

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Born Slippy on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 5:43 pm

Thanks HB. I hadn't read the entire transcript before. Have to say that
Mc actually seems to have been very fair. The journalist was clearly looking for a story.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by lags72 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 6:02 pm

I'm totally with Johnny Mac on this (as I'm sure he'll be delighted to hear ..... Wink )

"Taken out of context" is often used as a flimsy excuse to justify nonsensical or unwarranted comments. But, in this case, the full transcript is very useful in showing that he dealt extremely well with some rather silly questions from the interviewer.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by temporary21 on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 8:33 pm

He was literally asked if serena was the best player of everyone basically if she's bettter than men 

McEnroe just said what he thought. That she's not as good as most male players 

And she's not. It doesn't matter that she's not ofc But she's not quick or varied enough for the atp 

I'm pretty liberal but even I think this is a storm over nothing

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Henman Bill on Wed 28 Jun 2017, 11:07 pm

I think this is an interesting study in how the media works and how an argument can develop without any one person doing anything particularly bad.

Mcenroe has been prodded and fallen into a trip. To avoid negative publicity (unless he wants any publicity after all I probably wouldn't have been aware otherwise that he has a new book out), he probably should have avoided mentioning a specific number but simply said something conservative like Serena probably wouldn't be able to beat the top few male players. What he said wasn't that bad, or at all, but it's not exactly a study in tact and good PR either.

Serena's response is probably unecessary, and a classic case of passive aggressive. I am rarely impressed with her and this is no different.

However, the sub text of her tweet is that she doesn't want to see herself mentionted in the news in any negative way while pregnant. I do think a pregnant woman should be given special treatment. I think Mcenroe ought to have responded to that by dropping the subject. Of course, the subject only came up again when he was once again asked about it by another journalist. He didn't bring it up, but once it does come up he is happy to ramble on. Again, he's done little if anything wrong, but again not exactly a study in PR class. He might have been better to have dodged the subject instead of apparently proposing some kind of match/tournament.

Still, I am not criticising. Mcenroe is not Pepsi or United Airlines, and PR skills are optional. In a way the story itself is quite a non-story, but in some ways it's telling about people's character, and the media.

The media all too often will create stories themselves by putting words into people's mouths so that when they affirm yes (even though it wasn't their chosen words) they can report the person as having said something that was the story they wanted before they even began the interview. Or, even if they dodge the question they can report the person as "refusing to deny/refusing to rule out" headlining a story on something that was not even discussed at all.

The Mcenroe story is a case in point. The story headline says "refuses to apologise" but it's not like he came on the show and opened up by saying "I came here to tell you I am refusing to apologise". He was asked if he was going to apologise and had to answer the question, said he no. The headline implies that he should be apologising which is debatable and just some media created news.

And this creates a vicious circle where politicians, business people, and sports people all know that they are going to have their words exaggerated, and the one negative comment will headline the otherwise positive interview, and so they try to say as little as interesting as possible.

But who's really at fault here. The news writers need headlines to get news because that's what people click on.

I mean, what would you be more likely to click on:

"Serena Williams would rank outside the top 700 on the men's tour says John Mcenroe."
Or
"Interview with John Mcenroe: click here for transcript."

What about:
"Mcenroe refuses to apologise."
Or
"Mcenroe discusses new book and top players prospects ahead of Wimbledon."

In a way, it can be argued that the end consumer is at fault since the media is supply meeting demand.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Guest on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 4:15 am

The problem is that the media is unregulated. They create the "news" - and people generally believe it - because there is nothing to question it or regulate it - except the media itself. The media is full of bias and full of egos wishing to impose themselves on others.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by barrystar on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 1:11 pm

Serena asks for her privacy to be respected because she's trying to have a baby, just as a photograph of her naked and pregnant appears.  Given that, she can't really be asking for privacy when the conversation arises from observable publicly known facts - namely she is the best female tennis player ever, and has a very powerful game (e.g. her service speed is comparable to many on the ATP Tour).

She may be bored with the 'man vs. woman' debate, she may feel that there's a faint hint of misogyny/racism about some people's seemingly endless fascination with it and that whilst her excellence means she is the obvious comparator, some people may be wanting to use the debate to contrast her unfavourably with their ideal of a top female tennis player (you know - a bit more like the younger Chris Evert).  I would have some sympathy with that, and with a carefully drafted and nuanced statement she could make her discomfort clear in such a way that I don't think I'd be the only person thinking she had a point.

To an extent, she's damned whatever she does, but I do think that by raising 'privacy' at the same time of publication of a photograph of her pregnant and naked she has made herself look a bit silly and self-important.
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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 1:41 pm

The words "storm" and "teacup" spring to mind.

Where I would disagree with McEnroe is not so much his assessment that Williams would be ranked about 700 in the men's game. It may or may not be true, but there's no real way to tell. The issue I take is that he seems to infer that this discounts her from a GOAT discussion. The greatest player is IMO the one with the greatest accomplishments, suitably balanced out with discussions about an era's strength, uniformity of the courts, etc. It is not a simple game of who would beat who. As such, Williams should be in the conversation about the greatest tennis player of all time, as should Graf and Navratilova. You can argue the relative strengths of the women's and men's tour, and how that affects their standings, but to dismiss her on the basis of her being a woman, and thus, not able to compete with the men, is IMO short-sighted.

That said, I don't think there's anything particularly controversial about saying that Williams couldn't compete on the men's tour. I don't think it's particularly important TBH, men and women's sports are (mostly) separated, for good reasons.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 2:12 pm

I don't draw that conclusion from his comments MfC. I think he's previously said that she's one of the greatest athletes ever (without limiting it to women). His comment here was in response to a suggestion that she was the best tennis player in the world, which is a factual question about outright ability not achievements.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by beshocked on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 2:40 pm

What is greatness based on?

Just winning or style too?

No doubt Serena is a superb athlete but let's say compared to Federer, I don't think she's got as much variety in her game.

Her game is primarily based on power and having one of the best serves in women's tennis.

Serena's style is very effective but if talking about the greatest tennis player including both women and men, Federer out does Serena in quite a few categories.


Serena also suffers because of her lack of comparative rivalries, sure I guess technically there is Sharapova and Venus but with Venus being her sister it's not really the same and obviously Sharapova has been tarnished.

Where's the challenge coming from?


Federer has only won 1 French Open because there happens to be the greatest clay court player of all time in his era - 10 is insane.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by barrystar on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 5:34 pm

@beshocked - I don't know if you've watched Serena playing with Davenport commentating - it's a real eye-opener as Davenport tells you what her tactics are and so-on. It certainly changed my view about her being primarily a power player - yes, that's a huge weapon in her locker, but there is so so much more (as I think, in fairness, you may not dispute).
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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by Guest on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 5:36 pm

Some people say that Serena Williams is man-like and that's why she generally beats the women.

Here's Serena Williams take on the subject: "If I were a man ..."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/12/26/serena-williams-if-i-were-a-man-i-would-have-been-considered-the-greatest-a-long-time-ago/?utm_term=.6876acb76155

Reading it she suggest the fact that she is a woman and black meant she had to overcome more hurdles in being a success at her sport and so these factors should be taken into account, in addition to her success, in being considered the greatest sportsperson ever.

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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by ChequeredJersey on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 7:31 am

Venus and Serena have previous on this- they claimed that they could beat any man outside the top 200 in 1998, were proven wrong by Braast, ranked 203rd, who thrashed both, said he had been trying to play at 600th level at best and that they stood no chance at anyone in top 500 on the ATP. The Williams sisters changed their claim to outside top 350. However, Venus is definitely a better player than she was then.

Just a weird thing for her to get defensive about, regarding McEnroe picking a ranking, when she had actually tried the same thing 20 years ago. If McEnroe had said, in his arbitrary selection, 200th, then she would in fact have tried herself in the past.
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Re: Mcenroe vs Serena: That Escalated Quickly

Post by MrInvisible on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 2:37 pm

Storm over a teacup, a silly season news story. Regarding the wonderfully eccentric Braasch though, whilst he was ranked no. 203 in world at the time, he had reached as high as number 38 in world 3 years before playing Venus and Serena, so was no slouch on the tennis court. I suppose today's equivalent would be someone of the calibre of Dan Evans (say in a couple of years time after he's been out of the game with his ban).

I think we can assume Serena would struggle to beat a top 500 player on the ATP - therefore McEnroe's 'ranked 700' comment is hardly controversial.

I do think an exhibition match between Serena and McEnroe could be the most fun way of settling this rather than a drawn out argument over Twitter...

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