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John McEnroe's Comments About Serena Williams Light Up Twitter

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's follow up on a remark by John McEnroe. On NPR last weekend, the tennis great called Serena Williams the best female player in the world.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Our own Lulu Garcia-Navarro was curious about the qualifier.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Some wouldn't qualify it. Some would say she's the best player in the world. Why qualify it?

JOHN MCENROE: Oh, she's not - you mean the best player in the world, period.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah - best tennis player in the world - you know, why say female player?

MCENROE: Well, because if she was - if she played the men's circuit, she'd be, like, 700 in the world.

INSKEEP: That sparked social media outrage, including from Williams, who wrote...

MARTIN: (Reading) Dear John, I adore and respect you, but please, please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.

INSKEEP: Ouch.

MARTIN: McEnroe did not apologize but did explain on CBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCENROE: And I was simply calling her on - NPR was supposedly - you're supposed - you know, this is where you can say it like it is, and you're going to get honest feedback.

INSKEEP: He certainly got feedback. In related news, the Oxford English Dictionary announced new words it's adding this year, including some tennis terms.

MARTIN: One was inspired by McEnroe's famous on-court tantrums - superbrat. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.