MATCH POINT

Ken Hoffman addresses the question of an average Joe winning a point against Serena Williams

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

The headline: "Twitter Explodes At 1 In 8 Men Saying They Could Win A Point Off Serena Williams."

Comments almost unanimously said no way in the world could a non-professional tennis player win a single point off Serena. These men must be delusional, sexist, in need of psychiatric help, and just plain stupid.

Here's the question that was presented to 100 men by the online survey company YouGov: "Do you think if you were playing your very best tennis you could win a point of Serena Williams?"

The poll's result from YouGov: "One in eight men (12 percent) say they could win a point in a game of tennis against 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams."

Twitter lost its mind. Even Chrissy Teigen offered:

"We need to see this, please please. I would like to cry of laughter."

Everybody, slow down. This entire controversy du jour is flawed. For example, where did YouGov find these 100 men? If they walked up to 100 schlubs standing in line at McDonald's, then sure, I doubt if 12 of them could win a point off Serena. I don't think they could win a point off a 14-year-old boy or girl on their middle school tennis team. Most people, and for the purpose of this, let's consider men as people, don't play tennis. As in zero times in their life.

Who are these people?

There are about 325 million people in the U.S. of which, let's say, 155 million are male. According to the Tennis Industry Association, there are 9.9 million "core" tennis players in America, including men, women, boys and girls. A core player is someone who plays tennis at least 10 times a year. That's core? If so, that's trouble for the sport.

A good guess, there are about 2 million adult male, so-called core players. The number of men who play regularly, who really get after it once or twice a week, would be lower. Starting off, a random poll of 100 men would be unlikely to find one person who plays tennis regularly. A poll that finds 12 percent of men claiming they could win a point off Serena indeed is dubious.

Singling out Serena

Another thing, why did the poll ask about Serena Williams? Poor Serena got caught up in another silly kerfuffle a few years ago when John McEnroe said Serena wouldn't crack the Top 700 in the men's rankings.

Serena is the GOAT, no question, the greatest female tennis player of all time. But she is not the best now and hasn't been the best for several years. For YouGov to include Serena in its question was very disrespectful to today's top female players, like Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, and Simona Halep, who defeated Serena in the last four grand slam tournaments. Not saying Serena isn't still great, just saying she's not the best in 2019.

I can understand Twitter's howling at the 12 percent of men who say they could win a point off Serena … if the poll included the first 100 men getting off the bus on Main Street. But if the pollster went to a tennis club and asked 100 regular players if they thought could win a point off Serena, I think the actual retail price would be … at least 50 percent.

We're not talking beating Serena, or pushing Serena to a third set or worrying Serena in the slightest. But one measly point over 12 games? Very doable, at least imaginable, even against Serena Williams. Serena could double fault. She could miss a drop shot or smack a forehand into the net. The guy could get lucky and hit a backhand on the baseline, mis-hit an overhead that touches the net cord and trickles over for a winner. There are thousands of variables and weird things that happen in a tennis match.

Continue on CultureMap to read about Ken Hoffman playing against tennis legends.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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