I never realised how hard it was to write about tennis without unintentional puns until now. I mean, the verb 'served' is in the title, and this article is all about backhanded compliments... ugh.
In a nutshell, this is what happened: John McEnroe (man) said that the world number one Serena Williams (woman) would be “like, 700 in the world” if she played against men.
If you're not a follower of tennis, this may also put some things into perspective — number of Grand Slams won by McEnroe: seven. Number of Grand Slams won by Williams: 23.
Yes, men's and women's tennis are kept on two different circuits, but what is it about a male ego that means that women in sport - yes, even Serena Williams - have to be compared and, ultimately, belittled by their male counterparts.
Talking to American radio station NPR, McEnroe tried to desperately stop digging himself into a deeper hole, but alas, he just couldn't put the damn shovel down. He went on to say, “That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player, and I suppose anything's possible; maybe at some point a women's tennis player can be better than anybody.”
Oh but wait, there's more. “I just haven't seen that in any other sport, and I haven't seen it in tennis. If she had to just play the men's circuit, it would be an entirely different story.”
Maybe he needs to be reminded of the Bobby Riggs vs Billie Jean King 'battle of the sexes' back in 1973, although that was eight years before he threw a strop over an umpire's decision at Wimbledon (if you want a laugh, watch this), so he may not remember.
Unsurprisingly, Miss 'Only-16-More-Grand-Slams-Trophies-Than-McEnroe' Williams had something to say, but kept it short, sweet - and classy - in a couple of tweets directed to McEnroe.
The joke continues, as Dmitry Tursunov - ranked 701st in men's tennis - decided to chime in and say that he thinks he could beat Serena too.
In McEnroe's own words, you CANNOT be serious?!