John McEnroe opened his mouth again. Yep, he said something “salacious”! He said something “controversial”! He said something…
This week, the famed tennis player of yesteryear told NPR (while on a book-promotion tour) that, GASP, current female tennis superstar Serena Williams is the best female tennis player in the world.
Oh. No. He. Didn’t.
The interviewer asked him why he qualified his statement by saying best "female".
His answer was, again, honest.
Is there something disrespectful about that?
Men and women are different. Can we please stop pretending that they are the same?
This discussion is SOLELY meant to be had in the realm of a sports conversation. This is in no way meant to demean women as people, citizens of any nation or downgrade their ability to contribute to society just as well, if not better, then any man.
But, in the sports world, it’s not a fair fight. Men are superior athletes than women. There really is no denying nor debating that.
That does not mean that women are not good athletes. As McEnroe stated, Serena is a phenomenal athlete – probably the best female athlete on the planet, on or off the tennis court. Surely there are outstanding female athletes all over the world who are incredible at what they do.
My stance is this: at the highest levels of sports, women don’t measure up to men…
AND THAT’S OKAY.
God made men to be the bigger, stronger sex. They are. Women don’t run as fast. They don’t jump as high. They don’t lift as much.
AND THAT’S OKAY.
Anyone upset about McEnroe’s words, or mine, just haven’t examined the evidence.
How about running? Usain Bolt owns the world record for fastest 100 meter dash at 9.58 seconds. The women’s record holder? Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49. Nearly a second slower and, per this site I found, a time that wouldn’t even crack the top-2,600+ top men’s times ever.
Weightlifting? Men’s record holder is Wu Jingbiao’s 306 lb snatch. Yang Liau snatched 216.05 lbs to earn the women’s record.
Even in sports like golf, which is designed with handicaps and varied tee box distances to even the playing field as much as possible, the average distance off the tee is absurdly skewed. Dustin Johnson averages over 312 yards with the driver. Joanna Klatten averages 280 yards off the teen on the LPGA Tour – a mark that would edge Carl Pettersson for 174th in the men’s game. Yes, there are other factors to playing good golf besides driving, but this is a big difference.
I heard a debate on the radio about women’s basketball players and how they’d stack up in the NBA. Umm.. they wouldn’t. Not even a bit. They’d simply be too small, slow and grounded (no dunking) to compete.
Like golf, tennis is a game for individuals. Could Williams beat McEnroe? Today? Yes. He’s older now and she still in peak physical condition. Back in his prime? No, she couldn’t. Samuel Groth is ranked No. 139 in the world but holds the fastest men’s serve ever – 163.7 mph. Serena’s fastest? 128.3 mph. The fastest women’s serve ever was 131 mph.
It’s not a slight to say that women couldn’t compete with men at the highest level of sports. McEnroe isn’t saying anything controversial this time. He's even said things like this in the past!
Anyone who is upset by his words is simply trying to make a controversy out of nothing.