John McEnroe, at 56, believes he can beat Serena Williams.
Serena Williams has no interest in John McEnroe’s thoughts on what would happen if she tried to play on the men’s tennis tour.
Williams responded Monday via Twitter to comments McEnroe made during a weekend interview with NPR to promote his latest book.
Williams told McEnroe, “I adore and respect you,” but asked him to “please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.”
McEnroe, a former player and now TV commentator, said Williams is the best women’s tennis player in history – “no question.” But when asked whether she was the sport’s best ever, regardless of gender, he made clear he didn’t think so.
He said he thought Williams could beat some men, “but if she had to just play the circuit – the men’s circuit – that would be an entirely different story.”
He said if she tried to be part of the men’s tour, “she’d be like 700 in the world.”
In one of her tweets, Williams wrote: “I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’ nor do I have time.”
She added: “Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”
Williams is taking a break from the tennis tour because she is pregnant. She plans to return to competition in 2018.
Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record in the Open era, which began in 1968.
McEnroe won seven major titles.