Serena hits back after McEnroe’s comments

Serena Williams has hit back at John McEnroe after he stated that she would be ranked as low as 700 in the world if she played on the men's tour.

The 23-time women's singles grand slam champion returned a verbal volley on Twitter after McEnroe suggested the 35-year-old would struggle on the ATP Tour.

Williams, who is currently out of action as she awaits the birth of her first child, posted: "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".

Williams, still fourth in the WTA rankings, won her seventh Australian Open crown in January before announcing her pregnancy in April.

McEnroe, a former world number one and seven-time grand slam champion, said earlier in an interview with NPR radio in the US: "If she played the men's circuit she'd be, like, 700 in the world.

"That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player, and I suppose anything's possible; maybe at some point a women's tennis player can be better than anybody.

"I just haven't seen that in any other sport, and I haven't seen it in tennis. If she had to just play the men's circuit, it would be an entirely different story."