Bad boy tennis legend John McEnroe has refused to apologize for what has been perceived as a sexist comment about Serena Williams.
He recently told NPR that Williams is the best “female player ever – no question.” When asked to elaborate on the remark, he added: “well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world."
McEnroe was instantly pummeled with a barrage of criticism.
On Tuesday, he was given the chance to apologize by CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell, but swiftly said, “No.”
Williams took to Twitter Monday evening to chastise McEnroe over his comments.
Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
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— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
The 58-year-old former responded to her comment on CBS This Morning, saying, “I don't want anything to go wrong with Serena because she's pregnant," he said.
"I don't want to upset her or whatever it was. She's — I think she was doing a 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 it."
Co-host Gayle King, a friend of Williams, did not hide her feelings to McEnroe.
"I think it belittles what women do on the tennis court, that's why people are upset,” she said.
"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 and then we don't have to guess," McEnroe later said.
A nude Williams appears on the July issue of the magazine echoing a tradition started by actress Demi Moore in 1991.
She tells Vanity Fair she learned she was nearly eight weeks pregnant while playing in the Australian open in January. She said she hadn’t been feeling well and at one point threw up.
Her friend had told her to take a pregnancy test and when it did, the results came back positive.
“Oh my God, this can’t be — I’ve got to play a tournament,” Williams told Vanity Fair when she discovered the news. “How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year.”
She took six pregnancy tests and all came back positive.
Williams, 35, is engaged to Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, 34.