John McEnroe angers fans with comments about French Open winner Iga Swiatek – and confuses others with goodbye message

At the French Open final this past weekend, former tennis pro and commentator John McEnroe both confused – and angered – some fans as he commentated on the two finals matches, including making remarks that some deemed sexist.

When fellow commentator Mary Carillo mentioned that five-time grand slam winner Iga Swiatek turned down a brand partnership from Lancome because she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, McEnroe’s response raised eyebrows.

After comparing the player to tennis great Rafael Nadal, McEnroe wondered: „You think if they offer her enough, Lancome, maybe she would consider throwing on a little makeup for the right price?“

Swiatek went on to win the French Open final, beating Jasmine Paolini. Some fans were hung up on McEnroe’s comment about the makeup.

„That was sickening,“ one person wrote on social media, tagging NBC Sports and other affiliated channels. „It’s time for McEnroe to be GONE as a commentator. See ya.“

Others called him „sexist,“ „awful“ and a „clown.“ This is not the first time McEnroe has received backlash for his remarks about women tennis players.

During a 2017 interview on NPR, McEnroe said Serena Williams was the „best female player ever — no question,“ but when asked why he qualifies it as „female,“ he said, „if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.“ 

In a later interview with „CBS Mornings,“ Norah O’Donnell asked him if he’d like to apologize. McEnroe replied: „No.“

Fans were also confused when McEnroe appeared to say goodbye to his commentating job during the French Open – but he might not actually be retiring from the gig.

During the final match on Sunday between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev, McEnroe took a moment to thank Mary Carillo, as well as NBC, which was broadcasting the tournament in the U.S.

„While I have a chance, Mary, for all the years, it’s the last set, fifth set, for everything, we’ve worked together so often,“ McEnroe said. „Thank you so much. Give me a hug. Love you.“

„NBC, thank you so much. You gave me my first job as a broadcaster,“ he continued. „I appreciate that. What a way to go out with this match. Great effort by both guys. I don’t know who’s going to win. Any idea?“

Alcaraz won the match in the fifth set. But some fans were confused by McEnroe’s apparent goodbye to commentating.

He could have, however, been referring to the French Open broadcast specifically. NBC no longer holds the U.S. rights to the French Open, Variety first reported. Warner Bros. now owns the rights, and TNT Sports will be the place to watch the Roland Garros tournament in 2025.

The French Open has been broadcast by NBC in the U.S. since 1983, except for a three-year break, according to Variety.

McEnroe retired from playing singles tennis in 1994 but began working as a commentator for NBC in 1992, starting with the French Open. CBS News reached out to NBC Sports about McEnroe’s employment as a commentator and is awaiting a response. 

The seven-time grand slam winner will still lend his analysis at Wimbledon in July, commentating on BBC alongside fellow grand slam winners Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Pat Cash, and Tracy Austin.

McEnroe, known for his colorful language on and off the court, caught attention for other remarks made during the tournament, including his criticism of the schedule.

After Novak Djokovic had to pull out of the tournament due to a knee injury, McEnroe said it was horrible and a joke that the 24-time grand slam winner had to play at 10:30 p.m. 

„He’d talked about the knee issue before the tournament. That couldn’t have helped,“ McEnroe said while commentating. „And it goes to three in the morning – absurd! If this doesn’t change the mentality of the Majors about this type of scheduling, I don’t know what will. He’s the No.1 player in the world.“

Social media users also criticized his mispronunciation of Zverev’s last name during the final match. McEnroe praised Zverev’s opponent, Alcaraz, as his favorite player to watch, saying he is better than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic at 21.

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