John McEnroe says Trump once offered him 'sums of money' to play Serena Williams but McEnroe didn't want to 'mix the apples and oranges'

John McEnroe started a firestorm when he was recently asked about Serena Williams' place in the tennis world and said he thought she would rank "like 700" in the world if she had to compete against men.

Serena fired back at McEnroe, saying, "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."

This has inevitably led to many calling for another tennis "Battle of the Sexes," with McEnroe facing Serena on the court.

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1982: John McEnroe of the USA appeals the umpires decision during Wimbedon in London, England. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
John McEnros receives trophy. Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
WIMBLEDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY: John McEnroe serving to Bjorn Borg in the men's final in 1981. (Photo by John P Kelly/Getty Images)
Jul 1981: John McEnroe of the USA returns a shot during his match against Bjorn Borg in the finals of the 1981 Lawn Tennis Championships at the All-England Club in Wimbledon, England. McEnroe won the match 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tony Duff
PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 23: John McEnroe returns against Ivan Lendl during the Volvo Masters Series on January 23, 1984 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY: John McEnroe rests in between sets during the 1983 tennis season in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
LAKE TAHOE - JULY 25: Tennis star John McEnroe plays an exhibition match for Cerebral Palsy Research at the Mita Sports Festival on July 25, 1986 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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2/8/00 New York, NY. John McEnroe with his wife, Patty Smyth and kids at the premiere screening of 'Just For The Time Being.' Photo by Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Online USA, Inc.
LONDON - DECEMBER 1: John McEnroe of USA in action against Mikael Pernfors of Sweden during the Masters Tennis tournament at the Royal Albert Hall on December 1, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 5: John McEnroe arrives for the movie premiere of Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus at Chelsea West Theater November 05, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - AUGUST 06: John McEnroe congratulates Jim Courier in an exhibition match during the East West Bank Classic at the Home Depot Center on Aug 6, 2007 in Carson, California. Courier beat McEnroe in three sets. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: John McEnroe attends Nike's 'NYC Street Tennis' event on August 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: Tennis legend John McEnroe throws the ceremonial first pitch of a game between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox at Citi Field on August 29, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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It turns out, people have been trying to get McEnroe to play Serena for years, including President Donald Trump.

McEnroe was a guest on "The Dan Patrick Show," when he was asked why people have a problem with his comments. McEnroe started by pointing out that tennis, unlike other sports, has a storied history of men facing women in grand matches, and noted that people have been trying to get him to face Serena, or her sister Venus Williams, for years, but suggested it wouldn't be a good indicator of how Serena would fare against today's male tennis players.

"Over the course of time, people, including our now-President — [he] wasn't President at the time — have offered me sums of money to play either Serena or Venus," McEnroe said. "I don't know why I am always the guy that they want to play, the old fart now...Why don't they ask her to play Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal on clay, and see how that goes?"

When asked if he would face Serena for "a sum of money," McEnroe said he doesn't think it would be a worthy comparison, but also seemingly opened the door to doing it now.

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"I never really thought that was something, to mix the apples and oranges," McEnroe said. "I should probably suggest now that it might not be a bad idea if everybody is up in arms about it."

Tennis does have a long history of men facing women in exhibitions. The most notable would be the original made-for-TV event, "Battle of the Sexes," in which Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in 1973 and later, the "Battle of the Champions," when Jimmy Connors faced Martina Navratilova in 1992. Connors won that match.

The Williams sisters themselves even got in on the action in 1998 in a quiet match against Karsten Braasch, a German male player ranked 203rd in the world. He faced both in a single set on an outer court at the Australian Open after they had noted they thought they could beat a men's player ranked around 200th. Braasch beat both sisters in a single set each, 6-1 against Serena, and 6-2 against Venus.

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