Serena Williams has responded to comments from John McEnroe in which the retired ex-pro suggested she would be ranked very lowly if she competed against men.
Speaking to NPR, McEnroe said Williams was comfortably the best women's tennis player in the world. When he was asked why he specified between genders when making that statement, McEnroe replied: "Well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit she'd be like, 700 in the world."
Williams soon clapped back against McEnroe, politely asking him via Twitter to leave her alone while she focuses on her own life. "Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based," she tweeted. "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."
Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
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— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) June 26, 2017
In the same interview, McEnroe clarified his stance, saying: "That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it'd be a little higher, perhaps it'd be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she's so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke 'cause she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit, the men's circuit, that would be an entirely different story."
Earlier this year Williams responded to another former male tennis champion, Ilie Nastase, after it was alleged that he had made racist remarks about her unborn child.