John McEnroe Reveals His Opinion On Where Serena Williams Would Be Ranked If She Played The Men’s Circuit
Most sports writers, players, and commentators, agree that Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player of all-time. Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined amongst active players. Her record of 39 Grand Slam titles puts her third on the all-time list and second in the open era. She is a freak.
She’s so good that the question often gets raised: how would she fair against the best male tennis players on the planet?
Fellow tennis legend John McEnroe recently gave his opinion on the matter, when speaking to NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro about his forthcoming book:
Garcia-Navarro: We’re talking about male players but there is of course wonderful female players. Let’s talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.
McEnroe: Best female player ever — no question.
Garcia-Navarro: Some wouldn’t qualify it, some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?
McEnroe: Oh! Uh, she’s not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?
Garcia-Navarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?
McEnroe: Well because if she was in, if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.
Garcia-Navarro: You think so?
McEnroe: Yeah. 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.
It should be noted that back in 1998, when Serena was 16, she claimed that she could beat any man outside the top 200. Karsten Braasch, a male ranked 203rd in the world at the time, accepted the challenge. Braasch was not known for having a stringent training regiment, and competed against Serena after a round of golf and a couple beers. He beat Serena 6-1. Then took on Serena’s sister, Venus, and beat her 6-2. The girls later tweaked the number to beating men outside the top 350.
Garcia-Navarro followed up the interview by posing the following question:
Food for thought.
[h/t For The Win]