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After famously outspoken tennis great John McEnroe claimed she would be ranked "like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's tour, Serena Williams returned serve with a deft response.
Williams answered McEnroe's comments with a pair of Twitter posts on Monday, telling him to "please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based."
During an interview with NPR over the weekend, McEnroe said Williams was the best female player ever and was asked why he felt the need to qualify his statement with "female."
She would be ranked "like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's side, McEnroe explained.
"That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player,'' he continued. "I do, but the reality of what would happen on a given day ... Serena could beat some players, I believe, because she's so incredibly strong mentally. But if she had to just play the circuit — the men's circuit — that would be an entirely different story."
"I just haven't seen it in any other sport, and I haven't seen it in tennis," McEnroe added, speaking of the possibility that a female athlete could be better than any other player. "I suppose anything's possible at some stage."
Williams politely took to social media to respond, asking him to "respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby."
McEnroe declined to apologize on Tuesday in an interview on CBS "This Morning," saying he didn't know his comments would create controversy.
Williams, who has won a record 39 total Grand Slam titles between singles and doubles, is currently on hiatus from tennis until next year due to her pregnancy.
She spoke about her pregnancy in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which features her on the cover in an image reminiscent of the famous cover of a pregnant Demi Moore in 1991.
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