By Selwyn Duke
It’s a sad time when simple truths cause serious trouble. But that time is now, and a good example is how former number-one tennis player John McEnroe is being excoriated for stating that Serena Williams, widely regarded as history’s best women’s player, would be “like number 700 in the world” on the men’s tour. The story is also further proof of how the media are infested with arrogant, ignorant fake-news fetishists.
I do place a premium on honesty, however, and thus should confess my title’s inaccuracy. McEnroe is wrong.
I don’t think Williams would crack the top 1000 men.
By the way, unlike the two-brain-cell media wonders bloviating about things they know nothing about, I’m not just a journalist: I once was a tennis professional who played the satellite circuit (tantamount to baseball’s minor leagues) and competed against world-ranked players — this included being a sparring partner for a highly ranked woman.
Williams tweeted to McEnroe to “please keep me out of your statements….” But she should have sent the message to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro, who broached the matter — posing what could win the Stupid Question of the Month Award — while interviewing McEnroe about his new book. Here was the exchange:
Garcia-Navarro: …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? [Uh, maybe because the women and men don’t compete together and that there’s a reason for this? Just a thought]
…McEnroe: Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.
For not lying while answering a dumb question, McEnroe’s reward was to be labeled guilty of “sexism” and misogyny. Question: Is it sexism to say the top female track stars couldn’t beat the best 15-year-old boys?
Because the mile record for 15-year-old lads is in fact better than the women’s world record. My, those darn misogynistic stopwatches.
For the record, Williams has essentially acknowledged the reality here. As NY’s Daily News reported Thursday, in 2013 “Williams said she considered men’s tennis and women’s tennis to be two different sports. ‘If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes,’ she said. …I only want to play girls because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”
For the record, while the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match in which Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs was thrown in McEnroe’s face, Riggs was a 55-year-old “jerk who dyes his hair, waddles like a duck and has trouble seeing,” as King put it at the time. King was 29 and the world’s number-two female player — and Riggs had beaten the number-one woman player, Margaret Court, earlier in the year, 6-1, 6-2.
For the record, Williams also tweeted, “I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’  nor do I have time.” This may be true if she means a player exactly 700. But who do you think the women practice against? Highly ranked junior boys, male college players and male teaching pros — and they lose to the good ones.
I ought to know. I never lost a set to the woman, who’d been ranked 20 in the world, I sparred with (and I never had any kind of men’s world ranking).
Yet the media wouldn’t know any of this, partially because they couldn’t care less. It’s comical: In McEnroe they have a tennis legend. Yet instead of trying to learn while interviewing him — and informing their audience — they busy themselves attempting to extract an apology. I would ask them: I know you’re professional agitators, but for how many years did you play the tennis circuit? Is it at all possible McEnroe knows something you don’t?
This reflects a wider issue, though: It’s the exact same contempt for truth that brought us the CNN (Counterfeit News Network) scandal and reflects the sick, twisted world view informing that entity. The truth is considered out of bounds if it contradicts the leftist agenda, and those uttering it must be brought to heel.
Speaking of which, McEnroe did finally capitulate, not apologizing but saying he “regrets” his comments (between the lines: “because they elicited bad press”). And this is how fake-news fetishists guarantee fake answers.
By the by, on Tuesday’s “CBS This Morning,” McEnroe responded to some members of the ignorati with one of my ideas. Said he, “Why don’t you combine [the tours]…. I’m sure the men would be all for this: The men and women play together. And then we don’t have to guess.” The answer?
Because that would reveal an inconvenient truth and, again, the truth is not the media’s business.
In the final analysis, McEnroe served an ace, the media couldn’t touch it, but they’re also the linesmen and just called it out. You see, they cannot be serious — but they sure know how to cheat.
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