ESPN's sports analyst Chris "Mad Dog" Russo doesn't believe that Serena Williams should be considered as the greatest female player of all time. Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam champion in singles and is widely considered as one of the greatest players in tennis history.
During Wednesday's appearance on ESPN's First Take, Russo explained why he feels it is Martina Navratilova who deserves to be considered as the greatest of all time. Navratilova finished her career with 18 Grand Slams but Russo argued that she faced a lot tougher competition than Williams.
"Based on the fact that in Martina's era, she had to deal with Graf, Seles, (Hana) Mandlikova, Austin, and Chrissy (Evert)," Russo said when asked whether Williams should be considered as the GOAT. "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."
Russo picks Navratilova ahead of Williams in the GOAT debate
"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 added. "Serena is great and it's debatable.
You want to put her number 1? You can debate it and no problem." Actually, Navratilova was beaten by Steffi Graff in four Grand Slam finals. With 18 Grand Slams, Navratilova is tied with Evert on the fifth place for the most Grand Slams.
Margaret Court holds the all-time record of 24 Grand Slams, while Graf - who Russo didn't choose as the GOAT either - finished with 22 Grand Slams - the third most ever.