While out promoting his book, “But Seriously,” McEnroe pretty much says he doesn’t think Williams has what it takes to be the greatest player in the world … at least against men in the sport
When the tennis legend was asked by NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro about his qualifying comment that Serena Williams was the best WOMAN player, McEnroe replied:
“Best female player ever — no question,” McEnroe replied.
“Some wouldn’t qualify it, some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?” Garcia-Navarro asked.
McEnroe replied, “Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?”
“Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?” Garcia- Navarro pressed.
“Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” McEnroe said.
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When pressed, he continued, “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.”
All we can say is that we WISH there was some way a Serena Williams (in her prime) could meet John McEnroe (in his prime) on the court to settle the issue. Until then, we will never know.