John McEnroe hails Serena Williams as greatest of all time

Serena Williams should be regarded as the greatest female player in history even if she does not complete the calendar Grand Slam, according to John McEnroe.

Serena Williams of the USA (left) hugs sister Venus Williams of the USA after their match on day nine of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Serena Williams of the USA (left) hugs sister Venus Williams of the USA after their match on day nine of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – Reuters

World number one Williams will become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to carry off the four Grand Slams in a season if she wins two more matches at the US Open, including Friday’s semi-final with Roberta Vinci at Flushing Meadows.

If she is victorious, she will face Simona Halep or Falvia Pennetta in the final. To many commentators, it will cement her standing as the GOAT, but McEnroe is adamant his fellow American is already there.

“She’s the greatest female player I’ve ever seen,” said McEnroe – who himself won the US Open four times – on the BBC.

“She’s proven it to me over and over.

“I think Serena is one of the all-time greatest athletes, period. Man or woman. “

“You’re looking at an incredible athlete and we’ve got to enjoy this last year or two that we have her around, because there’s going to be a huge void when she’s gone.”

Tickets have apparently sold out for the women’s matches quicker than the men’s event due to the local interest in Williams and her pursuit of the clean sweep and a 22nd Grand Slam.

“It was a boost for the US Open in general,” said McEnroe.

“Obviously for women’s tennis it helps a great deal because without Serena, where would they be right now?

“I bet you 98% of people in the States couldn’t tell you who the other three semi-finalists are.”