Billie Jean King slammed John McEnroe for Serena Williams comment: 'He wants attention'
tennis updates from on and off the court Sign up fortennis updates from on and off the court We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
The BBC's Amol Rajan in interviewing tennie legend Billie Jean King tonight. She was perhaps one of the greatest doubles players in the history of tennis, winning 27 major titles. With her victories in 1967, she was the first woman since 1938 to sweep the US and British singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles in a single year. Billie Jean King. In 1973, at age 29, she won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs.
The match was viewed by an estimated fifty million people in the United States and ninety million worldwide. The victory marked a major breakthrough for women in sport. King has since made a name for herself as an equality activist, and took aim at John McEnroe after he made controversial comments about Serena Williams. Speaking in 2017 , she accused him of looking for "attention". The comments came at a screening of the film about her match called Battle of the Sexes, directed by Valerie Faris and starring Emma Stone.
King said: “I didn’t want to play Bobby Riggs. I hate this man-versus-women thing. I want us to be together. It gets me crazy. "We can’t beat them. The top women cannot beat the top men. We never claimed we did. Ever. They keep bringing it up. "They want attention. We’re talking about John. He gets exactly what he wants. It’s attention and fear.” Shonda Rhimes, a recipient of a Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative award, added: “I would like to see John McEnroe win a Grand Slam tournament while pregnant.” McEnroe sparked controversy in 2017 when he claimed Serena Williams would “struggle to make the top 700” on the men’s circuit. READ MORE: Andy Murray 'put ego to one side' for Lendl reunion ahead of Wimbledon
He also said she is the greatest female player ever, but his comments nonetheless sparked widespread debate. In the interview with McEnroe, NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro brought up the idea of Williams being the best player in the world — men's or women's — in the game today. After the discussion, she explained her view that being the best in the world isn't about pitting Williams against the men. She said: "Is being the best athlete in the world about pitting men against women? By that metric women can never be best. "Shouldn't you look at exceptional performance and wins? It's not a battle of the sexes." Williams herself then waded into the discussion, telling McEnroe his comments were not "factually based". She said: "Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. DON'T MISS
Serena Williams admits she considered retirement during injury battle
Andy Murray tipped to challenge Nadal and Djokovic for Wimbledon title
Boulter reveals family illness inspired biggest win of her career