‘The Old Fart’ – When John McEnroe Lashed Out at People Who Constantly Pit Him Against Serena Williams

Published 07/12/2022, 6:10 AM EDT

Follow Us

The 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is undoubtedly one of the best players ever. She has secured records that will stay untouched for years. However, is she better than veteran legends of men’s tennis or even the current stars? This is the question that tennis fans often play around with. As a consequence of the repeated occurrence of the same, some current and ex-players jumped into the discussion.

One of the most famous names who responded to the query is John McEnroe. McEnroe, during the early years of Serena on the tour, had a problem with the way she behaved with other players and particularly when she spoke about playing in some men’s tournament. When he responded, it created a war of words with her.


Article continues below this ad

John McEnroe about Williams playing on the men’s tour

Though McEnroe admires the potential Williams harbors, the comparison irks him. Therefore, in 2017, during the launch of his book ‘But Seriously’, he spoke about the same. He said, “I don’t know why I am always the guy they want to play. The old fart. But anyway, I have some ability left, and I had pride when I played.”


Get instantly notified of the hottest Tennis stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

“Why don’t they ask her to play Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal on clay and see how that goes? Have the women play in the men’s circuit and then well see what happens. Let them play for two years and see what the rankings are,” he added.

‘More of My Life Now’ – Serena Williams’ Genuine Admission on Enjoying Life Outside the Tennis Court

Thereafter, the former World no.1 justified his comments about Williams being the 700th ranked player if she played on the men’s tour. He said, “She could beat a handful of people who would choke and there’s other time where she wouldn’t be feeling and there is a 17-year-old guy that would beat her.”

Serena Williams’ astonishing career

The American tennis legend just after her debut started ascending the WTA rankings rapidly. She became the most prominent player on the tour in no time and dominated almost every surface.


Article continues below this ad

via Reuters

Williams, who first achieved the ranking of World no.1 in 2002, has held the ranking for a total of 319 weeks. It is the third longest streak, only behind legends, Steffi Graf (377) and Martina Navratilova (332).

Watch this story: Epic Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic encounters at the French Open


Article continues below this ad

Further, she has also secured 100 match victories in a Grand Slam. The former World No.1 touched the milestone in the hard courts of the US Open.

The American legend recently made her comeback to competitive action at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Her comeback didn’t go well, as she lost to Harmony Tan in the first round. Despite the disappointment, she will be raring to put on a good show in the upcoming hard-court Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. Do you think she can secure her 24th Grand Slam at the US Open and equal Margaret Court’s record?


Written by:

Mahima Verma


One take at a time

Mahima Verma is a Tennis writer for EssentiallySports. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Hotel Management from IHM Mumbai. A sports enthusiast, particularly Tennis since her childhood, Mahima believes that she is fortunate enough to witness the legends like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams play.
Show More>

Edited by:

Tony Thomas