L O N D O N, Sept. 19, 2000 -- New Yorker John McEnroe says the Williams sisters, while playing winning tennis, lack respect and humility.
The mellowed bad boy of the sport took the sisters to task in a column in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
“What they have achieved is great, but they have no respect for anyone in the game,” McEnroe wrote.
‘Enough Is Enough’
McEnroe objected to comments by Serena Williams, who last year said she would like to play in a couple of men’s tournaments.
“Do women golfers say they could go out and beat Tiger Woods?” he asked.
McEnroe also accused Venus Williams of displaying a lack of humility while winning Wimbledon this year.
“Enough is enough,” McEnroe wrote. “Would it kill them to say hello to people in the locker room?”
The sisters are in Sydney for the Olympics and were unavailable for immediate comment. Their father, Richard Williams, had little reaction to McEnroe’s comments.
“Everyone has a right to their opinion,” Richard Williams said from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Not a Challenge
McEnroe restated his opinion — earlier expressed to the New Yorker magazine — that “a lot of male college kids and members of the seniors’ tour could beat the sisters.”
But he said that, contrary to press reports, he never challenged the sisters to a match — even though he was offered $1 million by Donald Trump to take on one of the pair.
“I have no intention of getting involved, nor do I particularly want to have anything to do with them until they start to show people in the sport a little more respect,” McEnroe said.
McEnroe had words of praise, however, for rising Russian men’s star Marat Safin.
The famously temperamental 20-year-old player, McEnroe wrote, is “someone special” and “not just a contender but a champion.”