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It doesn't matter if John McEnroe or any man could beat Serena Williams. Here's why.

John McEnroe's decree that Serena Williams would "be like 700 in the world," on the men's tennis circuit predictably set the internet on fire.

The former seven-time Grand Slam champion told NPR in a June 25 interview that while he thinks Williams is an incredible player, it would be "an entirely different story," if she had to compete against men.

Photo by Greg Wood/Getty Images.


Whether McEnroe is right or wrong, many saw the comment from the famously loose cannon as unfairly dismissive of one of the most dominant athletes of her generation.

We're all human; we all say misguided things from time to time. Growing and learning and owning up to mistakes are all a part of running on this crazy hamster wheel we call life and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, last night, when Stephen Colbert tried to give McEnroe an out, he ... didn't exactly take it.

When pressed by "The Late Show" host, the former world #1 doubled down on his assertion that Williams would have a hard time beating most men.

McEnroe unequivocally credited Williams for being the "best thing that's happened to American tennis in the last 15 years" and praised her as "one of the greatest athletes of the last 100 years."

Unfortunately, he also said some other things:

"Do they say that about girl basketball players? That they're as good as Michael Jordan?"

"My girls don't think I could beat her now. I thought I could beat her. She's pregnant, so maybe I should play her now."

If you've ever wondered what getting about 80% of the way to an apology before spinning around and slamming a deep corner shot to that apology's backhand looks like, now you know.

Athletes are competitive, and no one wants to willingly relinquish the title of "greatest," especially not a notoriously prideful player like McEnroe.

Photo by Rob Taggart/Getty Images.

As an all-time great tennis player, McEnroe has certainly earned the right to consider himself a member of the sport's elite. And his comments likely resonate, in part, because people actually want to know what would happen if Williams went head-to-head with the top men of her era.

I'm curious. You're probably curious. No doubt McEnroe himself is curious.

But to dismiss William's claim to greatest-of-all-time status on the basis of her gender is particularly gross.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

It's true that women are, on average, smaller than men. But sports — particularly individual sports like tennis — have always categorized players by physical stature.

Take boxing. Floyd Mayweather and Evander Holyfield are both among the greatest fighters of all time. Mayweather presently competes as a welterweight. Holyfield, however, is a former heavyweight champion. If they fought each other in their primes, Mayweather would probably dance around Holyfield for about 30 seconds, at which point Holyfield would punch Mayweather full on in in the face and Mayweather would die.

It is self-evident that Mayweather would get creamed (though I'm sure Mayweather would insist otherwise). That's why boxing has weight classes in the first place.

And yet, there's little public debate about that scenario, likely because they're both men who dominate in their respective rings. It's simply accepted that their innate physical differences prevent them from engaging in a fair fight.

Meanwhile, former male tennis greats and fans can't stopassertingWilliams' inferiority.

Williams is by far the most dominant player of her era — perhaps any era.

She has exceeded her opponents in wins, points, championships, you name it. That's where her greatness lies. Beating or losing to a bunch of men wouldn't change that.

Would Serena Williams succeed on the men's circuit? It's possible she wouldn't. But McEnroe truly has no idea. Like everyone else, he's speculating.

McEnroe on the court in 1982. Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Such speculation from a figurehead of the sport sends a poor message to young girls and women involved in tennis.

It's the message that tells aspiring female players that "you can be good, but all the biggest trophies are reserved for boys." A message that suggests their abilities and strengths as a tennis player are somehow considered less than because of their gender.

McEnroe is entitled to his opinion, but Williams' accomplishments speak for themselves.

Grand Slam singles titles: 23.

Doubles titles: 14.

Four Olympic gold medals.

Over $80 million in prize money.

Any athlete, male or female, would envy a G.O.A.T.-worthy stat line like that, as they should also envy Williams' record of leadership on and off the court.

Such towering achievement might, understandably, make a woman uninterested in dwelling on hypotheticals.

How would Williams fare against the top men in tennis today? We'll probably never know.

And that's a good thing.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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