New York, Aug 27 (IANS) Tennis legend John McEnroe believes 21-time Grand Slam title winner Serena Williams is the greatest female player that the sport has produced, adding that the 33-year-old can surely win the US Open if she plays her A game in the competition that starts on August 31.
“To me, Serena is the greatest female player that ever played. She’s better in every way now. She’s more prepared now. When she’s feeling some pressure and not playing her best, she still figures out a way to win. If she brings her A game, she’s going to win this (US Open) for sure,” ESPN analyst McEnroe said on Wednesday.
The former World No. 1 said Serena is athletically and mentally ahead of other legends like Venus Williams and Steffi Graf.
“Athletically, you have to put her, Venus (Williams) and Steffi Graf as the greatest athletes that ever played tennis. So she’s got a big edge there. Then mentally she’s always been exceptionally strong,” said McEnroe, who won seven Majors in men’s singles.
“The other part on the women’s side is that as you get older, the advantage of playing two-out-of-three sets, that takes far less of a physical toll on you than best-of-five in the men’s. So that allows her to sort of be able to maintain this dominance.”
The American also pointed out that top women’s players retiring and opting out for some time for various reasons made it easy for Serena to take full advantage and reach the top.
“Rivalries, (Justine) Henin retired, stopped playing. (Kim) Clijsters stopped. Venus has been ill. (Victoria) Azarenka was out a long time. (Jennifer) Capriati had shoulder surgery,” the 56-year-old said.
“Some of those great, great players of the game aren’t around anymore, so she’s at a time where there seems to be a bit of a lull as far as challengers right now. There’s not enough challengers to really push her.”
Serena has a unique character on the court as she can lose it, break things, yell and scream, then come back and play even better.
“She’s done a pretty outstanding job. She’s used that to motivate herself, scream at herself, curse at herself. It’s actually helped her, like at the French Open for example. A perfect example. In the final, she was absolutely screaming, then she ended up scaring the heck out of her opponent,” concluded McEnroe.