This week John McEnroe went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and told the host he could beat Serena Williams.
That’s the world No. 1 Serena Williams who has won the last four Grand Slam tournaments, and has only lost twice through almost the first eight months of 2015.
McEnroe seemingly put on his best Bobby Riggs impression in telling Kimmel, “If I lose, to God forbid, to a women then I’m not allowed into any men’s locker room for the next 15 years, or possibly the end of my life. So that’s part of why it’s intriguing.”
No, that’s not the most intriguing part. It’s why McEnroe would want to put himself in position for a second national embarrassment in a span of two years.
Last year McEnroe dragged younger brother Patrick into the fray when he said the world No. 1 Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, were too slow and just failed singles players. What really irked him was the record-setting ways of the Bryans, and the claims that they were now the best doubles team of all-time.
“Sometimes I hear people saying they are the greatest doubles team. I’m like, “Excuse me?” McEnroe, who claimed a number of doubles records during his heyday with regular partner Peter Fleming, said at the time.
So they faced off. During the USTA’s Tennis Night in America celebration, the BNP Paribas Showdown in March 2014, the McEnroes were routed by the Bryan brothers 8-3 in a pro set (the Bryans led 7-0 before taking their foot off the gas pedal).
Fast forward a year and a half later. The 56-year-old McEnroe has said he’s ready to retire from senior tour play because he can’t keep up with the new wave of retired “seniors” like Andy Roddick and James Blake. But he can apparently beat Serena.
This match needs to happen.
This match needs to happen at the 2016 BNP Paribas Showdown in March, because if Serena is up for it, it would likely be a 6-2, 6-3 win for the current women’s world No. 1 over the four-time US Open winning McEnroe.
At 56 years old, McEnroe can’t cover the court like he used to, so he’s not going to frustrate her by chasing down balls, and he doesn’t hit a heavy enough ball to bother Serena. McEnroe would try to “rush and crush,” apply a lot of net pressure that Serena isn’t used to seeing on the WTA tour, but would that be enough to unhinge her?
Aside from tactics, this match-up would be a worldwide phenomenon. Who wouldn’t like to see McEnroe put on the Bobby Riggs Sugar-Daddy outfit and eat his words? Or could McEnroe win?
McEnroe on Kimmel’s show described himself as during his time the rock star world No. 1 who could burn the candle at both ends.
“My daughters think I would lose to Serena, I think I could still take her,” McEnroe said. “Serena’s got a lot to lose by losing to an old fart like myself.”
What do you think about a potential Serena Williams vs. John McEnroe televised exhibition match-up?