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Tennis Stars Naomi Broady And Laura Robson Back Serena Williams In John McEnroe Row

'It’s almost like comparing apples with oranges.'

30/06/2017 10:41 BST | Updated 30/06/2017 10:42 BST

British Wimbledon hopefuls Naomi Broady and Laura Robson have stood up for Serena Williams after retired tennis player John McEnroe said she would rank around 700th if placed against men.

Broady and Robson, both given wildcards for the upcoming tennis tournament, said comparing the men’s and women’s game in such a way was unfair.

Williams’ tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou also reacted to McEnroe’s comments, saying “men’s tennis is very different from women’s tennis” so we should stop comparing them. 

Scott Barbour via Getty Images
Serena Williams after winning the Women's Singles Final in the 2017 Australian Open. 

In a recent interview, McEnroe suggested that although Williams is the “best female player ever ― no question”, she would struggle playing against men.

“If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he said.

Upon hearing the comments, the former world number one and winner of 23 Grand Slams, tweeted: “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.

“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.”

Addressing McEnroe’s comments, and speaking at the Women’s Tennis Association pre-Wimbledon party in central London, Naomi Broady said: “I think the men’s and women’s game is just so different now and it’s almost like comparing apples with oranges.

“It’s basically a different sport in itself. Serena’s one of the all time greatest athletes ever, regardless of men and women, and I think most men will agree with that.

“You can’t compare Serena to Federer the same as you can’t compare Ronaldo to Federer.”

Laura Robson said: “I don’t think there’s any point in comparing the two, it makes no sense to me why he (McEnroe) brought it up in the first place.”

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Patrick Mouratoglou - who has been Williams’ tennis coach since 2012 - said: “I don’t really understand why we keep on comparing men and women in everything.

“I think men’s tennis is very different from women’s tennis and we like both of them for different reasons.

“Would we compare men’s 100m runners and women’s 100m runners, like the time they take to run 100m? No.”