McEn­roe can­not be se­ri­ous, says Ser­ena

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

Ser­ena Wil­liams has asked John McEn­roe for ‘re­spect’ af­ter the seven-time grand slam cham­pion said his fel­low Amer­i­can would be ranked ‘like 700 in the world’ if she had to play on the men’s cir­cuit.

Best but not

In an in­ter­view with Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio on Sun­day, McEn­roe said 23-times grand slam cham­pion Wil­liams was “the best fe­male player ever” but de­clined to la­bel her the best over­all.

‘In­cred­i­ble’

“If she played the men’s cir­cuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I don’t think Ser­ena is an in­cred­i­ble player. I do. “And on a given day, Ser­ena could beat some play­ers ... But if she had to just play the cir­cuit – the men’s cir­cuit – that would be an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story.”

‘Dear John’

For­mer world No 1 Wil­liams, who has taken time off to have a baby, re­sponded testily on Twit­ter. “Dear John, I adore and re­spect you but please please keep me out of your state­ments that are not fac­tu­ally based,” she wrote. “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.” McEn­roe re­fused to apol­o­gise for his re­marks.

Brink of great­ness

Wil­liams has won the most grand slam sin­gles ti­tles in the pro­fes­sional era, five more than Swiss Roger Fed­erer, the most pro­lific win­ner in the men’s game. She is one short of Aus­tralian Mar­garet Court’s over­all record of 24 grand slam ti­tles, which were split be­tween the pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur eras.

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