Serena Williams posts tweet after McEnroe's men world ranking claims

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Serena Williams has publicly asked John McEnroe to keep her out of his words after the former men's singles champion triggered a sexism debate with comments he made about where the tennis star would rank if she were the same player in the men's game.

McEnroe's statement appeared to undermine the current women's game:

"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."

Williams, known not to shy away from public responses if she feels she has been 'called out', responded a few hours later on Twitter with a carefully worded statement and a clear message for McEnroe:

"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."

McEnroe's wording has certainly upset several fans and has been labelled condescending, however, not everyone disagrees with the opinionated American.

Dmitry Tursunov - ranked 701 in the world - believes he would beat the women's former world number one and thinks the physical differences would always give the male players a big advantage.

"I would hope that I would win against Serena," Tursunov told BBC World Service Sport.

"It would be a similar argument to: who would run faster, the fastest woman or the fastest man? Tennis is becoming more and more a physical sport, so it's going to be hard for a woman to beat the men.

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"It's not black and white, there are lots of factors to take into account. Physically I might not be in the best shape of my life but as an overall package I'm much better than my ranking would suggest. She is pregnant, and I'm not.

"I've never heard John say anything absolutely stupid - he knows his stuff. What he said about her being an incredible player is correct - explosive, powerful and she puts in a lot of work. But I would hope that I would win."

Where do you think Serena Williams would rank in the men's sport? Let us know in the comments below.

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