John McEnroe is never far from controversy.
An extremely successful, yet temperamental player in his youth, he was famed for his ‘you cannot be serious?’ filled altercations with chaired umpires.
Since retiring, the American has forged a career in commentary and has become an ever-present on the BBC’s annual coverage of Wimbledon.
Ever keen to express his unfiltered opinions on current affairs in the tennis world, McEnroe has been particularly outspoken in recent weeks.
Firstly, when promoting his latest memoir ‘But Seriously’, the 58-year-old claimed that Serena Williams would rank ‘like 700 in the world’ if she played on the men’s circuit.
While since expressing regret over the comment, the media storm did not stop him from then making outlandish claims about Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic has had a difficult year to date, relinquishing two Grand Slam titles and slipping to number four in the world rankings.
McEnroe stated that he believed there were similarities between the catastrophic fall from grace suffered by golfer Tiger Woods and the Serbian’s current situation.
Woods’ has never performed to the same level again after his various personal problems were exposed in 2009, and McEnroe believes that “some off-court issues with the family” are affecting him to a similar extent.
Despite Djokovic’s refutal of those claims, last night, McEnroe was at it again.
Taking part in a Q&A show for BBC 5 Live with Kim Clijsters and Tim Henman, more comparisons between the relative standards of men’s and women’s tennis were raised by a caller when McEnroe was asked where he thinks he would rank in the women's game. You can watch his answer in the video below, here the transcript:
Caller: "Say you got back into training again, and started training quite seriously and started practising again… and you started playing on the world tour again, what do you think your world ranking would be… in the women’s game?"
Henman: "699 I think"
McEnroe: "Yeah I think it would be pretty low. [Laughs] I think at this particular age [it's] way too late to be able to train for these best of five set matches."
Caller: "In the women’s game?"
McEnroe: "In the women’s game? [Clijsters and Henman both laugh] Kim, could you answer that! Oh I’d probably be in the top 500 at least. I think I could make that. The women only play best of three so I’d have an advantage there. But thank you for asking!"
What do you think? Are his comments sexist and disrespectful? Or simply realistic due to inherent differences between the men’s and women’s game? Let us know in the comments below!
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