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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Compare Serena Williams with Roger Federer, says Caroline Wozniacki

Danish star rubbishes John McEnroe's assessment that woman's hero is good enough only to beat world 700 in men's circuit.

Caroline Wozniacki has had a good build up to Wimbledon this year, reaching the final at Eastbournebefore being beaten by Karolina Wozniacki. Matthew Childs / Reuters
Caroline Wozniacki has had a good build up to Wimbledon this year, reaching the final at Eastbournebefore being beaten by Karolina Wozniacki. Matthew Childs / Reuters

Caroline Wozniacki has shot down John McEnroe's claim that Wimbledon champion Serena Williams would barely scrape the top 700 on the men's tour.

And Denmark's former world No 1 claims the only player in the men's game that Williams should be compared against is Roger Federer.

McEnroe stressed in an interview with US radio station NPR he considered Williams the greatest female player of all time, but said that if put among the men the 23-time grand slam singles champion would be an also-ran.

He has refused to back down from that position, albeit while saying he did not want to upset Williams, who voiced her dissent by telling McEnroe to "please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based".

Williams misses Wimbledon for the first time since 2006 this year, as she is pregnant and awaiting the birth of her first child.

Wozniacki starts as the fifth seed and the 26-year-old Dane defended her friend against McEnroe's comments, saying: "I don't really think you should be comparing like that.

"If you want to compare results, then I think the greatest tennis players of all times right now are Roger and Serena. And if you want to compare results, then compare the two greats. That's only fair."

Wozniacki enjoyed a positive week in Eastbourne, fine-tuning her Wimbledon preparations by reaching Saturday's final where Karolina Pliskova edged her out for the title.

She arrives at Wimbledon full of confidence in her game, and said: "It's been great to get the feel, because especially on the grass, if you don't feel 100 per cent comfortable, it can be pretty tricky.

"That's why I think I'm feeling good, and hopefully that will mean that I can play well at Wimbledon."

Wozniacki must wait until Tuesday for her opening match against Hungary's Timea Babos, with Monday's line-up seeing Petra Kvitova, Venus Williams and Simona Halep in action.

After being attacked in her home in December and suffering severe injuries to her left hand, Kvitova did not know if she would play again, let alone so soon. This is her third tournament back, after a short-lived French Open campaign and a title-winning run at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

Now the Czech is enjoying the soothing balm of being back at Wimbledon, where in 2011 and 2014 she landed the title.

"I have to say the first tournament I saw on the TV was Wimbledon, because of Martina Navratilova," Kvitova said, referencing her compatriot and nine-time champion.

"In the Czech Republic it's the best tournament in the world. There's always a lot of history here. I like the rules, playing in white. I like renting the house with the team. It feels like a home and family. I think there's a few things which I really do like, [even] if I'm not counting grass and my trophies here.

"I really do feel very comfortable here. It's quiet. It's a relaxed place. That's how my personality is as well. That's why probably it's feeling so good here."

Kvitova starts with a Centre Court outing against Sweden's Johanna Larsson, a player she has beaten in all four of their previous meetings.

Many eyes will be on Venus Williams on Court One as the five-time champion takes on Belgian Elise Mertens, who was one year old when her opponent made her Wimbledon debut in 1997. Twenty years down the line, at the age of 37, Venus is still talked about as a title prospect and will look to put off-court distractions to one side.

She has said she is "heartbroken" over a fatal car crash in the United States which led to the death of a 78-year-old man, Jerome Barson. His daughter has filed civil court documents in Florida, claiming Williams was "driving carelessly and recklessly" which "led to the catastrophic injuries and death" of Mr Barson.

Romanian Halep tackles New Zealander Marina Erakovic, while Latvia's surprise French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko plays Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina could have her hands full, with the Ukrainian drawn to face Australian Ashleigh Barty. Barty took the girls' title in 2011 at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old, and was runner-up to Kvitova in Birmingham.

* Press Association

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