Olympics Equestrian Slideshow

Equestrian Cross-Country

Peter Thomsen of Germany competes in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Boyd Martin of the United States competes with her horse Otis Barbotiere in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at Greenwich Park, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/)/Ng Han Guan)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Mary King of Germany rides Imperial Cavalier as she competes in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at Greenwich Park, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Takayuki Yumira of Japan rides Latina as he competes in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at Greenwich Park, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Germany's Dirk Schrade competes with his horse, King Artus, in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at Greenwich Park, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Britain's Nicola Wilson competes with her horse, Opposition Buzz, in the equestrian eventing cross country phase at Greenwich Park, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Equestrian Cross-Country

Boyd Martin, of the United States, and his horse Otis Barbotiere competes in the equestrian eventing cross-country stage at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Qatari jockey Maryam Al-Subaiey poses for a picture during an interview with AFP at the Racing and Equestrian Club in the capital Doha on September 13, 2017

Qatari jockey Maryam Al-Subaiey poses for a picture during an interview with AFP at the Racing and Equestrian Club in the capital Doha on September 13, 2017 (AFP Photo/Karim JAAFAR)

Female Qatari jockey Maryam Al-Subaiey (L) takes part in a horse race at the Racing and Equestrian Club in Doha on February 24, 2017

Female Qatari jockey Maryam Al-Subaiey (L) takes part in a horse race at the Racing and Equestrian Club in Doha on February 24, 2017 (AFP Photo/KARIM JAAFAR)

Maryam Al-Subaiey's (L) dream came true in February at Qatar's pastoral Racing and Equestrian Club, a green oasis on the western fringes of the capital Doha

Maryam Al-Subaiey's (L) dream came true in February at Qatar's pastoral Racing and Equestrian Club, a green oasis on the western fringes of the capital Doha (AFP Photo/KARIM JAAFAR)

Millie Bright names her grandfather and John Terry as the biggest influences on her career

Mille Bright may have styled her game on watching John Terry play for Chelsea, but it is advice from a grandfather that inspires her every time she steps on to the pitch. Bright is not a woman to be messed with, strong and aggressive, she admits she wants to physically dominate strikers, something she has always been encouraged to do by her grandad. The Chelsea centre back, who grew up in Derbyshire, is the only player to have started all four of England’s European Championship games and has been superb in her first international tournament. The 23-year-old has been one of the main reasons behind England’s excellent defensive record -  with just one goal conceded - and revealed that she saw Terry as the perfect centre back to learn from. “I’d say I’m a front foot defender,” said Bright, a Chesterfield supporter, who gave up on a promising equestrian career to concentrate on football when she was a teenager. “I want to get in there and win my battles and I never hesitate to go in for a challenge. Bright says she modeled her game on former Chelsea defender John Terry Credit: PA “In terms of watching how centre backs play, I’ve always looked up to John Terry. I’ve always watched the Chelsea men’s team and Terry has been a massive defender for me and a rock. “He is really good at doing his one v one defending and reading the game. I have probably watched a lot of his clips. In the women’s game, I have been playing alongside Steph (Houghton) and just watching her. It is also good to watch my own performance back and just making sure that I keep on top of that. “The thing with Terry is that it is his position which decides whether he can step in to make a tackle. The positioning is the base and the rest falls into place. I try not to over think things. If you give yourself too much to think about, that is when the mistakes come in. “Keep it basic and that is what I have been doing well at this tournament– winning my headers, and making sure I win my 1-1 battles.” Although Bright may have picked up some tricks of the centre-back trade by watching Terry, her attitude, her desire and her combative streak are down to her grandfather Arthur. Meet the Lionesses “You have to make the strikers fear you,” she added. “Make it difficult for them to get on the ball and go into different areas. That makes my job easier. You have to get one above your opponent, being on the front foot allows you to do that. It allows you to dominate them. “What makes me so strong in the tackle? My grandad has always said if you’re going in for a ball you go 100% and you never go in half-hearted. If it’s a 50-50, he always used to say, ‘Millie, you’re coming out with it.’ Every game I’ve had that mindset, I just make sure I go in and win it. “If there is ever a tackle when I’ve gone in half-hearted, he’ll always say ‘Millie you’ll get injured’ and ‘you’ve lost your battle'. He’s really competitive, just as much as me. “He wants me to succeed, but more than that he wants the team to succeed too, and he’s definitely the one who is responsible for that. His name is Arthur Bramall. “He used to work in the mines, he’s retired now, but he’s been a big part of my career. When a lot of people doubted me, he’s always been the one to pick me up and he’s the guy to I go to for the football talk. My grandad gives me an honest opinion on the games and my performance. I really respect him for that. He’s really helped me develop as a person and a player, and he’s always been honest with me, whether I’ve had a good or bad game, where I need to improve.” England are yet to concede a goal in the European Championships Credit: AFP England’s defeat of France in the quarter-final means they are the highest ranked team left in the tournament, although they will have to beat the host nation in Thursday’s semi-final in Enschede, home of FC Twente. Bright, though, has no fear of facing a hostile home crowd and England are confident of progressing to Sunday’s final, given they knocked hosts Canada out of the World Cup two years ago. It would be their first European final since they were thrashed 6-2 by Germany back in 2009, but Bright knows they will have to be at their best to beat Holland. “We’re confident we can beat anyone,” she added. “We kept France out and if you can do it against the top team in the competition, you can do it against the hosts.” £250,000 up for grabs: pick your Telegraph Fantasy Football team today >>

Millie Bright names her grandfather and John Terry as the biggest influences on her career

Mille Bright may have styled her game on watching John Terry play for Chelsea, but it is advice from a grandfather that inspires her every time she steps on to the pitch. Bright is not a woman to be messed with, strong and aggressive, she admits she wants to physically dominate strikers, something she has always been encouraged to do by her grandad. The Chelsea centre back, who grew up in Derbyshire, is the only player to have started all four of England’s European Championship games and has been superb in her first international tournament. The 23-year-old has been one of the main reasons behind England’s excellent defensive record -  with just one goal conceded - and revealed that she saw Terry as the perfect centre back to learn from. “I’d say I’m a front foot defender,” said Bright, a Chesterfield supporter, who gave up on a promising equestrian career to concentrate on football when she was a teenager. “I want to get in there and win my battles and I never hesitate to go in for a challenge. Bright says she modeled her game on former Chelsea defender John Terry Credit: PA “In terms of watching how centre backs play, I’ve always looked up to John Terry. I’ve always watched the Chelsea men’s team and Terry has been a massive defender for me and a rock. “He is really good at doing his one v one defending and reading the game. I have probably watched a lot of his clips. In the women’s game, I have been playing alongside Steph (Houghton) and just watching her. It is also good to watch my own performance back and just making sure that I keep on top of that. “The thing with Terry is that it is his position which decides whether he can step in to make a tackle. The positioning is the base and the rest falls into place. I try not to over think things. If you give yourself too much to think about, that is when the mistakes come in. “Keep it basic and that is what I have been doing well at this tournament– winning my headers, and making sure I win my 1-1 battles.” Although Bright may have picked up some tricks of the centre-back trade by watching Terry, her attitude, her desire and her combative streak are down to her grandfather Arthur. Meet the Lionesses “You have to make the strikers fear you,” she added. “Make it difficult for them to get on the ball and go into different areas. That makes my job easier. You have to get one above your opponent, being on the front foot allows you to do that. It allows you to dominate them. “What makes me so strong in the tackle? My grandad has always said if you’re going in for a ball you go 100% and you never go in half-hearted. If it’s a 50-50, he always used to say, ‘Millie, you’re coming out with it.’ Every game I’ve had that mindset, I just make sure I go in and win it. “If there is ever a tackle when I’ve gone in half-hearted, he’ll always say ‘Millie you’ll get injured’ and ‘you’ve lost your battle'. He’s really competitive, just as much as me. “He wants me to succeed, but more than that he wants the team to succeed too, and he’s definitely the one who is responsible for that. His name is Arthur Bramall. “He used to work in the mines, he’s retired now, but he’s been a big part of my career. When a lot of people doubted me, he’s always been the one to pick me up and he’s the guy to I go to for the football talk. My grandad gives me an honest opinion on the games and my performance. I really respect him for that. He’s really helped me develop as a person and a player, and he’s always been honest with me, whether I’ve had a good or bad game, where I need to improve.” England are yet to concede a goal in the European Championships Credit: AFP England’s defeat of France in the quarter-final means they are the highest ranked team left in the tournament, although they will have to beat the host nation in Thursday’s semi-final in Enschede, home of FC Twente. Bright, though, has no fear of facing a hostile home crowd and England are confident of progressing to Sunday’s final, given they knocked hosts Canada out of the World Cup two years ago. It would be their first European final since they were thrashed 6-2 by Germany back in 2009, but Bright knows they will have to be at their best to beat Holland. “We’re confident we can beat anyone,” she added. “We kept France out and if you can do it against the top team in the competition, you can do it against the hosts.” £250,000 up for grabs: pick your Telegraph Fantasy Football team today >>

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

It's David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos

On this day in 1952, a legend was born. That legend would became famous for driving an electronic car, running on the beach in slow motion and becoming a musical icon in Germany. That's right, today is David Hasselhoff's 65th birthday and we're celebrating with his best sports photos.

Hasselhoff the Equestrian poses in Los Angeles during a 1978 photo shoot. Why he's not wearing a shirt is a question we can not answer.

Dyan cannon needed a big draw for the 1984 Big Brother-Big Sister Bowling Benefit?, and Hasselhoff delivered.

The Hoff shows off The Legs during a 1986 tennis match.

Hasselhoff was a fixture on the '80s charity game circuit, appearing at the 1988 Teamm House event. No word on whether Coke paid for the product placement.

When Bill Clinton needs the advice of a foreign relations expert, he turns to The Hoff, as he did in this 1995 jog.

Over the past few years, Hasselhoff has been doing the 'celebrity fan' thing, including appearances at a NFL game in Wembley Stadium and a Clippers-Thunders game in L.A.

Hasselhoff will always be an entertainer, as evident in this Baywatch-inspired performance at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament in April 2016.

Most expensive homes in Canada this summer

No. 5: 242004 Range Road 32, Calgary, Alta.
List price: $30,000,000
Appearing at No. 4 on our spring list, Kestrel Ridge Farm has actually moved up on the summer ranking of pricey homes. The home has six bedrooms and six bathrooms, and sits on 160 acres on the Elbow River. The luxury log home has a tennis court, indoor salt-water swimming pool, and is home to a world-class equestrian and dressage training facility, designed to host National Horse Shows. Last year, the home was No. 6 on the list. (Photo: Sotheby’s International Realty Canada)

Serena Williams, John McEnroe and the men vs. women debate

We’ll start with a story: a few days before the French Open, John McEnroe delivered a commencement address at the Trinity School in Manhattan, which he and his kids attended. By multiple accounts, it was a tremendous speech, tremendously delivered. It was strongly progressive and political, with more than a few zings at Donald Trump. I bring this up, yes, to point out that McEnroe is nobody’s caveman, especially on social issues. But I also bring this up to show that McEnroe knows the power of words; and the problems that arise when they are used sloppily.

The underlying thought exercise here—how would a top female fare against a male player?—is reasonable, especially for a casual follower. Unlike other sports, in tennis men and women perform simultaneously. This is a great virtue of the sport. I have friends who are insane NBA fans but can’t name the WNBA team in their town. In tennis, fans might prefer one tour over the other. But no one says, “I like the Williams sisters but who’s that muscular Spanish guy?” We think nothing of watching Federer take the court and Sharapova following him. We are less likely to wonder how, say, Diana Taurasi would fare in the NBA or Abby Wambach would fare on an MLS team because the leagues never intersect.

Not so tennis. With equal prize money adding to the sense of parity but fueling the discussion, it’s natural (logical, even) to wonder why there isn’t one circuit—mid-sentence trivia break: equestrian is a unisex Olympic sport—or how the best top female pro would fare against a male counterpart. The factual answer: likely not well. McEnroe was correct.

But as a matter of public discourse, the premise should be rejected and the answer should have been: “who cares?” The best woman would not likely beat the best male or the 100th male or even the 500th male. The same way Alabama would not beat the worst NFL team. Different leagues, different classes of competition, different bodies. Yet millions of fans are entertained watching Alabama and prefer college football to the NFL. Why? All sorts of reasons, some tribal, some aesthetic. But mostly because, against their relevant competition, Alabama is the best. The end. Likewise, Serena Williams competes in women’s tennis and is the best there ever was. End of discussion. She would not beat Nadal. She would also lose a race to Usain Bolt, a fight to Ronda Rousey, and regatta in the America’s Cup. And so what?

Even tennis reinforces this, intuiting that these two tours that compete simultaneously and are paid equally—adding to the value proposition—are nevertheless distinct and not meant to be pitted against each other. We talk about top-seeded Andy Murray, without bothering to mention it’s the men’s division only. We talk about French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko without stopping to point out that it was the women’s title she won.

McEnroe’s sloppy response played out, predictably. An old (white) man was diminishing the career of a younger (black) woman. That Serena was not there to defend herself because she is profoundly pregnant didn’t exactly help the optics either, underscoring gender differences in the most vivid way possible. (I think we can all agree: even the best man in his division would not rank in the top 700 in baby delivery.) Serena’s responding tweets were perfect but didn’t exactly douse the controversy either.

Even for a guy who’s been given great latitude over the years for his ready-fire-aim approach—“No bullshit” is the phrase splashed across the back cover of the book that McEnroe is currently promoting—this was an unforced error, intentional or not.

And while my gut is “not,” the history and context are important here, too. For years, McEnroe has not merely wondered how he’d fare against Serena, he has actively courted Serena for a Battle of the Sexes II event. It almost happened in Florida more than a decade ago and it resulted in a lawsuit. Cynically, you hope this time McEnroe didn’t speak so indelicately to revive interest.

Inasmuch as there’s anything ironic here, in the follow-up question in this ill-fated interview McEnroe was asked what he wanted next. His response: “I need to find that inner peace, but that’s difficult for me.”

More irony? Later this summer Emma Stone stars as Billie Jean King, Steve Carrell stars as Bobby Riggs (Sarah Silverman steals the show as Gladys Heldman) and we get the Battle of the Sexes movie. And with it comes another chance to revisit this topic.

Serena Williams, John McEnroe and the men vs. women debate

We’ll start with a story: a few days before the French Open, John McEnroe delivered a commencement address at the Trinity School in Manhattan, which he and his kids attended. By multiple accounts, it was a tremendous speech, tremendously delivered. It was strongly progressive and political, with more than a few zings at Donald Trump. I bring this up, yes, to point out that McEnroe is nobody’s caveman, especially on social issues. But I also bring this up to show that McEnroe knows the power of words; and the problems that arise when they are used sloppily.

The underlying thought exercise here—how would a top female fare against a male player?—is reasonable, especially for a casual follower. Unlike other sports, in tennis men and women perform simultaneously. This is a great virtue of the sport. I have friends who are insane NBA fans but can’t name the WNBA team in their town. In tennis, fans might prefer one tour over the other. But no one says, “I like the Williams sisters but who’s that muscular Spanish guy?” We think nothing of watching Federer take the court and Sharapova following him. We are less likely to wonder how, say, Diana Taurasi would fare in the NBA or Abby Wambach would fare on an MLS team because the leagues never intersect.

Not so tennis. With equal prize money adding to the sense of parity but fueling the discussion, it’s natural (logical, even) to wonder why there isn’t one circuit—mid-sentence trivia break: equestrian is a unisex Olympic sport—or how the best top female pro would fare against a male counterpart. The factual answer: likely not well. McEnroe was correct.

But as a matter of public discourse, the premise should be rejected and the answer should have been: “who cares?” The best woman would not likely beat the best male or the 100th male or even the 500th male. The same way Alabama would not beat the worst NFL team. Different leagues, different classes of competition, different bodies. Yet millions of fans are entertained watching Alabama and prefer college football to the NFL. Why? All sorts of reasons, some tribal, some aesthetic. But mostly because, against their relevant competition, Alabama is the best. The end. Likewise, Serena Williams competes in women’s tennis and is the best there ever was. End of discussion. She would not beat Nadal. She would also lose a race to Usain Bolt, a fight to Ronda Rousey, and regatta in the America’s Cup. And so what?

Even tennis reinforces this, intuiting that these two tours that compete simultaneously and are paid equally—adding to the value proposition—are nevertheless distinct and not meant to be pitted against each other. We talk about top-seeded Andy Murray, without bothering to mention it’s the men’s division only. We talk about French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko without stopping to point out that it was the women’s title she won.

McEnroe’s sloppy response played out, predictably. An old (white) man was diminishing the career of a younger (black) woman. That Serena was not there to defend herself because she is profoundly pregnant didn’t exactly help the optics either, underscoring gender differences in the most vivid way possible. (I think we can all agree: even the best man in his division would not rank in the top 700 in baby delivery.) Serena’s responding tweets were perfect but didn’t exactly douse the controversy either.

Even for a guy who’s been given great latitude over the years for his ready-fire-aim approach—“No bullshit” is the phrase splashed across the back cover of the book that McEnroe is currently promoting—this was an unforced error, intentional or not.

And while my gut is “not,” the history and context are important here, too. For years, McEnroe has not merely wondered how he’d fare against Serena, he has actively courted Serena for a Battle of the Sexes II event. It almost happened in Florida more than a decade ago and it resulted in a lawsuit. Cynically, you hope this time McEnroe didn’t speak so indelicately to revive interest.

Inasmuch as there’s anything ironic here, in the follow-up question in this ill-fated interview McEnroe was asked what he wanted next. His response: “I need to find that inner peace, but that’s difficult for me.”

More irony? Later this summer Emma Stone stars as Billie Jean King, Steve Carrell stars as Bobby Riggs (Sarah Silverman steals the show as Gladys Heldman) and we get the Battle of the Sexes movie. And with it comes another chance to revisit this topic.

Randeep Hooda

If there is anything that Randeep Hooda loves equally as acting then its horses. He is also a professional equestrian who regularly participates in polo matches, horse show jumping, and dressage events. He has also won several medals for the same.

Photographer David Goldman

Digby, the horse ridden by Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, of Denmark, leaves the ring after completing their routine in the equestrian dressage competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aug. 7, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Photographer David Goldman

In this photo made using a fisheye lens, Jaime Azcarraga, of Mexico, rides his horse Gangster, in the equestrian show jumping team competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Aug. 5, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Photographer David Goldman

Veins are seen on the horse Clifton Promise while mounted by New Zealand rider Jonathan Paget during training for the equestrian eventing competition in Greenwich Park at the 2012 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The most expensive homes for sale in Alberta.

The property is home to a world-class equestrian facility, including top-of-the-line stables, dressage training facility, and a Grand Prix-sized arena in the main barn. (Listing via Sotheby’s Canada)

Mulberry

The famed British brand is launching a new bag style. The Amberley satchel was first seen on the London Fashion Week catwalk and is inspired by all things British with a whole lot of equestrian detailing. It comes in lots of sizes, textures and colours so get browsing.
Mulberry, from £450

A View to a Kill (1985)

No shortage of innuendo in Moore’s 007 swansong, as he remarks to Allison Doody’s equestrian Jenny Flex, “I take it you spend quite a lot of time in the saddle.” Meanwhile, the morning after a bedroom liason with Grace Jones May Day, when Christopher Walken’s Zorin asks how he slept, Bond replies, “I got off in the end.” (Picture Credit: MGM-UA)

Valley Sports Park

Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian is shown in this rendering of Valley Sports Park. (Photo: Courtesy LA 2024)

Odds of getting an athletic scholarship for women

No. 2: Equestrian
Number of high school athletes: 1,306
Athletic scholarships: 390
Ratio of athletes to scholarships: 3:1
(Patrick Doheny/Creative Commons)