JOHN McEnroe has created a bit of a storm in the tennis world while promoting his new book "But Seriously".

In it, the tennis legend calls Serena Williams the "greatest woman to play tennis".

A fair point, given she has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and 72 career WTA tour titles.

Given it is tennis we're talking about, it was apt that McEnroe would follow that claim up with a backhanded compliment, saying that although Serena is the greatest female to grace the court - he feels she wouldn't do too well against the men.

"If she was in the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world," McEnroe said in an interview.

"That doesn't mean she's not like an incredible player, but the reality of what would happen on a given day - Serena could beat some players because she's so incredibly strong mentally, but if she just played the men's circuit, it's an entirely different story.

"Maybe at some, a woman can be better than anybody. But I haven't seen it in any other sport and I haven't seen it in tennis."

Serena Williams celebrates a Grand Slam singles triumph.
Serena Williams celebrates a Grand Slam singles triumph. AP Photo - Aaron Favila

But McEnroe conceded that Serena would overcome the physical difference on the men's tour, by using her considerable experience to her advantage against some players.

"She could overcome some situations where players would choke because she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, the US Open, etc," McEnroe said.

On Tuesday morning (AEDT), Williams responded to McEnroe's comments.

Channel Nine journalist and 3AW host Tony Jones took things a step further, saying he feels Williams could beat one player in particular on the men's circuit - Australian Nick Kyrgios.

"I agree with him on one point - I think she would beat Nick Kyrgios," Jones told 3AW.

"I say that because she has a power game, there's no doubt about that.

"But he touched on something that is more important, especially when you're playing something like Nick Kyrgios whose brittle above the shoulders - it's a mind game as well.

"Her mental strength alone would see her get the better of someone like Nick Kyrgios - I'd back her in."

The Aussie dynamo has become known for his precarious mental state on court. He recently found trouble again at the French Open, capitulating in a second round loss to South Africa, Kevin Anderson.

Kyrgios was fined for breaking two racquets in an on-court meltdown at Roland Garos, the Australian frustrated with the strain from a battle with injury and the loss of his grandfather pre-tournament.

Kyrgios quickly took to Twitter following Jones' comments, to give his thoughts on the whole scenario, retweeting 3AW's suggestion and showing just how comical he found the suggestion.

But Kyrgios left no doubt who took the Twitter slanging match in straight sets, firing back at the broadcaster with straight-up logic.

And the feisty youngster received support from Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt, who is Kyrgios' Davis Cup captain.

Not only did Hewitt shut Jones down by calling him a "goose", but he took the mickey out of him even further by referring to him as "Chompers". Chompers is the nickname given to Jones because of his bright, pearly whites, and it's not a tag the Channel Nine personality enjoys.

AFL players have routinely stitched Jones up on air in interviews, mocking him by calling him Chompers.

For the record, Serena is currently taking a break from tennis for the birth of her first child.

Williams became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title when she claimed the 2015 Wimbledon title at age 33. She also won this year's Australian Open in the early stages of her pregnancy.

Kyrgios' response prompted several others to join in on the debate and most were all in the Aussie's corner, although happy to see Serena settle it with the Aussie on court.

We say, game, set, match - Kyrgios.

News Corp Australia

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