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McEnroe calls for unisex competition after controversial Williams' comments

Sporting News logo Sporting News 28/06/2017
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Just days after John McEnroe found himself in some familiar hot water after saying Serena Williams would rank 'around 700' if she was playing on the men's circuit, the outspoken American has attempted to cool waters.

While refusing to apologise for his comments, the former world number one instead suggested men and women should just play one another to avoid the need to speculate on comparative rankings.

"Why don’t you just solve the problem (and) I’m sure the men would be all for this, that men and women play together and then we don’t have to guess," McEnroe said.

"I respect Serena very much so.

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"She’s the greatest female player that’s ever lived.

"I felt the need, however unfortunately, to defend myself and say what I really think."

McEnroe's calls for unisex competition isn't all that unusual with the 'Battle of Sexes' seeing men and women face off in one-off exhibition matches a number of times in recent decades.

The first of these being a match in 1973 which saw 55-year-old Bobbie Riggs playing and losing to 29-year-old Billie Jean King.

More recently, Novak Djokovic and Li Na also played a light-hearted match in 2013 with Na given a 30-0 advantage at the start of each service game and eventually winning 3-2.

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