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"There has never been a top-10 player in historical purposes who she has gone up against, Venus is not a top-10 all-time player" - Chris Russo believes Serena Williams is not the GOAT

Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo speaks about Serena Williams' status in the GOAT debate
Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo speaks about Serena Williams' status in the GOAT debate
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Aayush Majumdar

Serena Williams' status as the 'greatest of all time' in women's tennis is not a foregone conclusion, believes famous sports radio personality Chris Russo. He feels that Williams is not the GOAT in tennis and has included the likes of Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the top contenders for the title.

In light of Williams' retirement announcement, Russo opened up about the GOAT debate in women's tennis in a segment for ESPN's First Take show. He spoke in favor of Navratilova as the all-time greatest, stating that the Czech-American had to regularly compete against the likes of Graf, Monica Seles, and Chris Evert among others, all of whom are among the best players ever.

Meanwhile, he believes Williams did not have any rivalries against all-time top-10 players and that Venus Williams does not make it to the list of the 10 best players ever.

"Based on the fact that in Martina's era, she had to deal with Graf, Seles, (Hana) Mandlikova, Austin, and Chrissy (Evert)," Christopher Russo said on the topic. "Chrissy, Seles, and Graf are three of the top five or six players in the history of women's tennis."
"Serena, in this period of her dominance which has been remarkable, there has never been a top 10 player in historical purposes who she has gone up against. Venus is not a top-10 all-time player," he said further.
.@MadDogUnleashed doesn't think Serena Williams is the GOAT 😳 "Serena in this period of her dominance ... there has never been a top 10 player in historical purposes who she has gone up against." https://t.co/QVU3aGaUG7

Russo highlighted that while Navratilova has won lesser Grand Slam singles titles than Williams, the quality of her opponents in those finals and throughout her career was much richer than the opposition that Williams faced. He feels that the era of women's tennis in the 1980s, which included the likes of Navratilova, Graf, Seles, Austin, and Tracy Austin, was much more competitive.

Having said that, he admitted that Serena Williams' GOAT status cannot be clearly denied.

"Remember, Martina lost eight Grand Slam finals to all-time great players, she lost two to Graf*, one to (Monica) Seles, she lost four to Chris Evert, and one to Tracy Austin. Her period of tennis in the 80s, in my opinion, from a women's tennis standpoint, was much deeper and much better than who Serena's been able to beat in the last 20 years," Russo continued.
"Serena is great and it's debatable. You want to put her number 1? You can debate it and no problem," he added.

* Martina Navratilova lost four Grand Slam finals to Steffi Graf.

🎾 Most Women’s Career Grand Slam Titles:Margaret Court: 24Serena Williams: 23Steffi Graf: 22Helen Wills Moody: 19Chris Evert: 18Martina Navratilova: 18Serena Williams says she will retire after this year's U.S. Open. https://t.co/ZWrvJzVMyB

Chris Russo compares Serena Williams' record to Steffi Graf and calls Martina Navratilova 'the best' ever

Serena Williams and Martina Navratilova at the 2015 French Open
Serena Williams and Martina Navratilova at the 2015 French Open

The American sports presenter termed Martina Navratilova as the "best player I've ever seen." In his assessment of the GOAT debate, Navratoliva as well as Graf are ahead of Serena Williams. Graf is the only player in tennis history to win all four Majors and an Olympic gold medal in the same season. She is also the only player ever to win all four Grand Slams at least four times each.

"It's debatable because you have to put Martina (Navratilova) in the mix. For my money, pound for pound the best player I've ever seen. And you have to put (Steffi) Graf in the mix. Graf won a (Calendar) Grand Slam in one year, Serena never did that. Graf also won the Olympic gold medal along with the four Majors in 1988," Russo explained.

Williams, who has 23 singles Grand Slams to her name, will have one final chance to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 titles at the 2022 US Open. The 40-year-old announced her upcoming retirement in a heartfelt statement on Tuesday, stating that she is moving away from the sport to give more time to family and her business ventures.

Serena Williams is currently competing in the Canadian Open and will play next week's Cincinnati Open.

Serena Williams has just announced plans to retire after the U.S. Open.➖ 73 Singles Titles➖ 23 Grand Slam Singles titles➖ 14 Grand Slam Doubles titles➖ 4 Olympic Gold Medals➖ $94M in prize moneyA legend 🐐 https://t.co/rt6a6RaqFl

Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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