Tennis superstar Serena Williams took to social media to address comments made by former great John McEnroe, who recently said that if Williams played on the men’s professional circuit, “she’d be like 700 in the world.”
“Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based,” wrote Williams in her Twitter post.
“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,” added the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
Williams was addressing comments McEnroe made during an interview with NPR about his upcoming book, where he referred to Williams as the best female tennis player in the world.
When asked about Williams’ comments that she should be considered “one of the all-time greatest athletes,” rather than a female one – McEnroe answered that he thinks that the qualifier is needed because “if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.”
The comments quickly sparked controversy on social media, and seemingly disappointed Williams.
Speaking on the ‘CBS This Morning’ show, McEnroe later said: “I don’t want anything to go wrong with Serena, because she’s pregnant. I don’t want to upset her, or whatever that was.”
However, the 58-year-old, who won seven Grand Slam titles, refused to apologize.
“I think she was doing a tongue-in-cheek as well,” he added.
“I can’t even believe we’re talking about it,” McEnroe said.
Williams, 35, is currently taking a break from the sport as she awaits the birth of her first baby, and is not expected to return to tennis until next year.