Serena no match for Anderson, but ...

Serena Williams serve (Getty Images)
Serena Williams serve (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Does the name Nerman Fatic mean anything to you?

Probably not.

But if outspoken John McEnroe is spot on with his assessment, the Bosnia and Herzegova Davis Cup player is more or less on a par with women's tennis legend Serena Williams.

Fatic, you see, is positioned at 700th on the ATP ranking list and according to charismatic former star McEnroe, who is never loathe to mince his words, this is where the 23-time singles Grand Slam champion Williams would be rated if she hypothetically ventured into the lion's den and tried her luck on the men's circuit.

McEnroe's comment has enraged women libbers worldwide and threatened to generate a tennis war among the sexes.

The New Yorker is one of the most astute commentators on the game and when asked to apologise for his positioning of Williams in relation to male players, he was unapologetic and replied "No, I don't think so."

Interestingly, a cross section of top South African players past and present are divided on how Williams would shape against the country's leading male players.

All are agreed she would have no chance against the thunderous pace of 42nd-ranked Kevin Anderson's serve, but when it came to 254th-ranked number two, Lloyd Harris and number three, 410th-ranked Nik Scholtz, a segment suggested that Williams would indeed be competitive.

And a number even suggested that Williams' all-round strength and unwavering purpose would enable her to account for fourth-ranked South African, Tucker Vorster, who is currently ranked 779th.

Others, however, went along with McEnroe and placed the great of women's tennis along with Fatic.

But to illustrate the delicacy of the issue, almost to a man and woman, the request was made "not to mention my name."

And with another intriguing blue riband Wimbledon on the horizon and women receiving the same multi-million prize money as the men, the perennial arguments comparing the men and women's game will once again be in focus - although Williams won't be in action while awaiting the birth of her first child and McEnroe will be ensconced in his commentating booth, where his views are always followed with interest.

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