Sizzling tennis spat: Serena Williams fires at John McEnroe’s ‘sexism’ … leave me alone, I’m pregnant

Screenshot of John McEnroe: “It didn’t go big with my daughters either.”

Outspoken tennis legend John McEnroe stood by a statement he’d made earlier in the week about tennis great Serena Williams — and he’s being labeled sexist because of it.

But was he merely stating the truth?

He told NPR on Sunday that Williams was “the greatest female tennis player in the world.”

Then he stuck his foot in his mouth when asked why he qualified his assessment by limiting it to female players only.

“If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he replied.

Williams didn’t take his remarks lying down. The 35-year-old has won 23 grand slam singles titles so far in her career and was the only woman in Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes in 2017.

She shot back:

As for those 700 male athletes, Williams tweeted:

But the funny thing is, Williams admitted just a few years ago that men’s and women’s tennis are two different animals altogether.

“The men are a lot faster,” she said in a 2013 interview. “They serve harder, they hit harder — it’s just a different game.”

Her remarks — both past and present — were also discussed on ABC News.

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McEnroe was given the opportunity to walk his opinion back during his appearance on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert Tuesday night. He admitted he should have remained silent on that one, but refused to take the remark back.

“It didn’t go big with my daughters either, okay?” he said when Colbert mentioned his NPR assessment of Williams.

“You cannot be serious,” Colbert told him.

“Remember ‘The Honeymooners?’ — Ralph Kramden?” the tennis legend asked. “Me and my big mouth!”

McEnroe went on to explain that when assessing female athletes “You get into a little different category,” and said, for example that women basketball players can’t be compared to Michael Jordan.

“People always ask me, ‘Can you beat Serena Williams?’” the 58-year-old McEnroe added. “My girls don’t think I can beat her now. I thought I can beat her. She’s pregnant so maybe I should play her now.”

He added his own personal kudos to the tennis star.

“But either way I wish her the absolute best,” he said of Williams. “She’s the best thing that’s happened to American tennis in the last 10, 15 years.”

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Clip via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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