John McEnroe really stepped in it this time.
The 58-year-old tennis legend, who’s prone to spouting outrageous nonsense—and popping up in crap Adam Sandler films—earned the ire of many when he claimed that Serena Williams would “be like 700 in the world” if she played on the men’s tennis circuit.
Serena Williams, who is hands down the greatest female tennis player of all time (and one of the greatest athletes in any sport ever), is on the verge of giving birth to her first child with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and was not here for Superbrat’s petty nonsense:
Stephen Colbert was not here for it either. The Late Show host has been known to put the occasional guest in their place, from Trump-qualifying Susan Sarandon to Putin-pandering Oliver Stone. And on Tuesday night’s edition of his late-night program, he came for Superbrat.
“Now, you are known for your outbursts on the court. People think of you as a bit of an outraged character at times,” Colbert told McEnroe. “But you have stirred the pot in a way that you rarely have in the past, because this weekend you topped yourself. You topped yourself, sir. You told NPR that if Serena Williams was on the men’s circuit, she’d be like No. 700 in the world.”
The crowd booed McEnroe, who confessed, “It didn’t go over big with my daughters either.”
“You cannot be serious,” replied Colbert, borrowing one of Superbrat's catchphrases. “What was the question that led you to that answer?”
“Well, we were talking to someone on NPR Radio, and she said something to the effect—she was asking about Serena, and I said, ‘Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player that ever lived, and I think she’s absolutely tremendous,’ and she followed it up with, ‘Why do you have to say female tennis player? Isn’t she the greatest tennis player that ever lived?’ And I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Hang on a second here. If we’re going to talk about that, then you get into a little different category. Do they say that about girl basketball players? That they’re as good as Michael Jordan?’” McEnroe struggled to explain.
“They might say women’s basketball players,” offered Colbert, whose correction earned heavy cheers from the audience.
The comedian seemed to cast several lifelines toward McEnroe, offering him chance after chance to apologize for his bizarre foot-in-mouth moment. And Superbrat sort of took the bait—but not entirely.
“People are always asking, ‘Can you beat Serena Williams?’ My girls don’t think I can beat her now. I thought I could beat her,” he said. “She’s pregnant, so maybe I should play her now. I’d have a better chance. But either way, I wish her the absolute best. She’s the best thing that’s happened to American tennis in the last 10, 15 years.”