A collage of a photo of John McEnroe and Serena Williams

John McEnroe Tried to Diminish Serena Williams’ Greatness, But the Internet Wasn’t Having It

We urgently need your help.  DAME reports the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. In times of crisis it is even more critical that these voices are not overlooked, but COVID-19 has impacted our ability to keep publishing. Please support our mission by joining today to help us keep reporting.

On Sunday, McEnroe told NPR’s Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro that Serena Williams was the “best female [tennis] player ever — no question.” But when asked why he felt the need to caveat his response in gendered terms, McEnroe insisted, “…if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be, like, 700 in the world.”

That sound you hear is a collective “excuse you?” Indeed, Twitter made sure to set McEnroe straight, first by pointing out Williams’ own superpowers.

Others pushed back on the notion that the benchmark for greatness are head-to-head competitions between men and women.

Although, some folks were pretty sure Serena would take no mercy.

Speaking of lesser men, anyone pick up on a similar pattern on who sided with McEnroe?

Even Serena felt compelled to respond to McEnroe. And this style is one I like to describe as the most polite way to tell someone, “Hi, please exclude me from your bullshit narrative.”

In sum: Serena is the GOAT, and don’t you ever forget that.


We urgently need your help! 

Covid-19 has dramatically impacted our ability to keep publishing. DAME is 100% reader funded and without additional support, we can’t keep publishing. Become a member at DAME today to help us continue reporting and shining a light on the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. Every dollar we receive from readers goes directly into funding our journalism.  
become a member today!


(If you liked this article and just want to make a one-time donation, you can do that here)

Become a member!