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Serena hits back after McEnroe ranks her 700th on men's tour
June 27, 2017 / 5:46 AM / 6 months ago

Serena hits back after McEnroe ranks her 700th on men's tour

(Reuters) - Serena Williams has asked John McEnroe for “respect” after the seven-times 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.

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 28/1/17 Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts as she is presented with a glass of champagne, next to the Women's singles trophy. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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.

“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.”

Britain Tennis - Aegon Championships - Queens Club, London - 18/6/16 John McEnroe at the Aegon Championships in London Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic

Former world number one 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.”

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.

Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom

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