Serena Williams and John McEnroe are not planning to face off in a tennis match after she gives birth, despite a report. Gossip Cop can explain how this made-up story took real news and turned it into fake news.
Last month, McEnroe took an unexpected shot at Williams in an NPR interview, saying she’d only be ranked “like 700 in the world” if she played against male players. He was accused of being sexist and misogynistic, and Williams herself responded on social media, “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’ nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”
Amidst the backlash, McEnroe appeared on “CBS This Morning,” where he declined the opportunity to apologize. But he later said during an ESPN conference call that he regretted the remark, and also said on “The Late Show” that his comment “didn’t go over big” with his daughters. He admitted, “My girls don’t think I can beat her now. I thought I could beat her.” He also joked, “She’s pregnant, so maybe I should play her now. I’d have a better chance.”
Now, one month after the controversy, the National Enquirer is asking, “Serena And McEnroe Grudge Match?” According to the fabricated story, “John is ready to eat his words, and make money in the process.” A so-called “insider” is quoted as saying, “Several big promoters are interested in putting together a match after she has the baby. Serena is into it and thinks she can beat John on the court.”
That’s all the information the supermarket tabloid has, and it’s rather odd that a gossip magazine would break such a story, and not a major sports outlet. Gossip Cop was suspicious, and upon investigating, we learned our concern was well-placed. Far from Williams and McEnroe supporting such an idea, Gossip Cop is exclusively told by a source close to the situation that they’ve “never discussed” it, and it “wouldn’t happen in a million years,” anyway. The article, says our impeccable contact, was simply “made up” to capitalize on last month’s feud. The National Enquirer sure didn’t ace this one.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.