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John McEnroe Refuses to Apologize to Serena Williams Over Sexist Remarks

John McEnroe doesn’t feel the need to apologize to Serena Williams, despite the controversial remarks he’s made about her lately.

The former tennis star already commented that he believes he could beat her in a match to this day. When he joined NPR over the weekend, he stuck to his belief, saying the current tennis GOAT—and soon-to-be mama who just posed nude for Vanity Fair—couldn’t win if she played against men.

Though he admitted she’s the best female player in the world, he said, “If she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.”

He continued, “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Serena is an incredible player…On a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she’s so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke ’cause she’s been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit—the men’s circuit—that would be an entirely different story.”

McEnroe came under fire for his remarks, and Williams even took to Twitter herself yesterday to ask him to stop making non-factual statements.

“Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based,” she wrote. “I’ve never played anyone ranked “there” nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”

Still, McEnroe doesn’t feel a need to apologize.

He joined CBS This Morning during which host Norah O’Donnell asked if he would be willing to apologize to Williams.

“No,” he replied and later added, “It’s not necessary. I didn’t know it would create controversy.”

He continued,  “I respect Serena very much so and I was simply calling her on NPR—which supposedly this is where you can say it like it is and you’re gonna get honest feedback—she’s the greatest player, female player, that’s ever lived.”

McEnroe said his comments came from a perspective in which people are always asking him if he could beat her. Therefore, he suggests men and women should play together.

“Why don’t you combine, just solve the problem—I’m sure the men would be all for this—the men and women play together,” he quipped. “And then we don’t have to guess.”

Responding to Williams’ tweets, he added, “Serena has a way with words. I don’t want anything to go wrong with Serena because she’s pregnant. I don’t want to upset her or whatever it was. I think she was doing it tongue-in-cheek, as well, and I think that, deep down, we’re talking about something I can’t even believe we’re talking about right now.”

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