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"Please stop having him on the show, I beg of you" - Tennis fans react to Chris Russo saying that Serena Williams is not the GOAT

Serena Williams (L) and Chris Russo (R)
Serena Williams (L) and Chris Russo (R)

Ever since announcing her impending retirement from professional tennis last week, Serena Williams has been the biggest talking point in the tennis world. Making her debut in 1995, the American legend has been an active player for almost 27 years and has redefined women's tennis.

With the highest number of Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, Williams is the greatest female player for the majority of fans. However, there are a few people who think otherwise. In a recent TV program, famous sports radio personality Chris Russo argued that Williams was great but with the quality of tennis in the 80s, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf were better.

"You have to put Martina and Graf in the mix. Martina lost eight Grand Slam finals to all-time great players. In my opinion, her period of tennis in the 80s was much deeper and much better than who Serena has been able to beat in the last 20 years. There has never been a top-10 player in historical purposes who Serena has gone up against. Venus is not a top-10 all-time player," Russo said.

Soon after his statement, tennis fans found themselves divided on Twitter. While most seemed to disagree with Russo, there was a section of people who thought that his points were valid.

"The counter argument is that she was so dominant that the others could not blossom. I am old enough to remember Martina Hingis being anointed an old time great after a few wins, until the Williams sisters landed. Tennis is the ultimate winner," a fan tweeted.
@Boy1der22 @FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed The counter argument is that she was so dominant that the others could not blossom. I am old enough to remember Martina Hingis being anointed an old time great after a few wins, until the Williams sisters landed. Tennis is the ultimate winner.
"He made a decent argument, he knows woman’s tennis better than anyone on that panel AND he said she could be number 1 but he thinks differently. He didn’t just say “she’s big time. She’s box office” he gave us stats and data. What’s the problems?" a user posted.
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed Why the big “😳”? He made a decent argument, he knows woman’s tennis better than anyone on that panel AND he said she could be number 1 but he thinks differently. He didn’t just say “ she’s big time. She’s box office” he gave us stats and data. What’s the problems?!?!
"You know how Jordan & the Bulls stopped Stockton & Malone, Ewing, Reggie Miller & dem from getting a ring? Well, that's how it is with Serena Williams. She stopped so many HoFs from getting more majors bcuz she was IT!!! The greatest," another fan tweeted.
You know how Jordan & the Bulls stopped Stockton & Malone, Ewing, Reggie Miller & dem from getting a ring? Well that's how it is with Serena Williams. She stopped so many HoF from getting more majors bcuz she was IT!!! The greatest. twitter.com/FirstTake/stat…

Here are some more reactions:

When Serena got to No. 1 for the first time, it was literally the golden era of the women’s game. The entire top 10 was hall of famers. Just say you don’t know what you’re talking about. twitter.com/firsttake/stat…
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed Please stop having him on the show. I beg of you. https://t.co/UNZlfUHRl2
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed I understand his points but, Serena was just that dominant in this era. She didn't leave any doubt during this time that she was the best. We can all have a seat now and prepare to enjoy the next era of great tennis 🎾
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed Get this guy off of the show. Certain things can’t be disputed. Serena is the 🐐 case closed
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed this is actually so factually inaccurate. Serena played and won majors during the Golden Age of women’s tennis. playing venus, henin, hingis, seles, clijsters, mauresmo, sharapova, capriati, davenport, li, pierce, azarenka, etc etc on a regular basis. all Hall of Famers!
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed Ya'll buggin. He made solid points. He even said he respects the argument that she is number 1. It's not like he went up there and blasted her legacy. Relax people lol. It's just sports, it'll be okay. Their job is to talk about them hahaha.
@HARPER04_5 @FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed Wtf does that have to do with anything? He’s dedicated his life to sports andHe actually follows tennis very closely unlike 95%of the ppl outraged in these comments. If you know the sport there’s no way you don’t think his argument is valid. U don’t have to agree but this isn’t
@jade1of1 @FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed He made a good point though if you know tennis. I was surprised he actually made a good point. And, Serena is NOT a top 5 athlete. That's ridiculous. Top 5 woman athlete perhaps but not a top 5 athlete.
@FirstTake @MadDogUnleashed People here in the comments saying Serena is the Goat and they never even watched a tennis match or heard the name Steffi Graf. That is American Bias, they just know their athletes and ignore others from foreign countries.

Serena Williams faces Emma Raducanu in the Cincinnati Open 1R

Serena Williams in action at the Canadian Open
Serena Williams in action at the Canadian Open

Last week, Serena Williams made public her decision to retire after the upcoming US Open. This means that the Western & Southern Open will be the penultimate tournament of her career. In her opening match, Williams is all set to take on the 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

The 13th-ranked Brit was born seven years after the American icon turned professional. Like every other player on the tour, Raducanu grew up watching the 40-year-old legend and has often lauded her for her contributions to the sport. While Williams reached the second round at the recently concluded Canadian Open, Raducanu lost in the first.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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