In an interview with NPR on Sunday promoting his second memoir, “But Seriously,” the 58-year-old former Wimbledon champ called Williams the “best female player ever — no question.” But, asked if she was the best player ever, period, his answer drastically changed:
“Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world … 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.”
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
The incident immediately drew comparisons to the famous “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, when retired tennis player Bobby Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a match in the Houston Astrodome.
No word yet on whether a McEnroe-Williams match might be in the offing down the road.
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