chris evert serena williams martina navratilava
Serena Williams (C) with Martina Navratilova (L) and Chris Evert (R) at the US Open in 2014getty

Tennis legend Chris Evert has hailed former women's world number one Serena Williams, claiming that the American is the "greatest player of all time." Speaking on the Women's Tennis Association podcast, the 18-time Grand Slam winner said that she has been better than the other players on the WTA circuit and should be rightly called as the best ever.

Williams, who recently lost her world number one ranking to Germany's Angelique Kerber, is one of the most successful players of any era winning 22 Grand Slam titles, which is equal to that of the legendary Steffi Graf. The 34-year-old is also the highest paid female athlete in the world at present with annual earnings of £6.7m.

"Serena is up and down, her whole career has been up and down. But the ups are brilliant and better than anyone else's ups, and I think that's why you can say she's probably the greatest tennis player of all time", said Evert, as quoted by excelle sports.

"Everything from here on is icing on the cake for Serena. I can't say something negative like, well, she only won one Grand Slam and slipped to No.2 in the world. She has been such a great champion for American tennis, she and her sister."

The 35-year-old has not had the best of seasons with various injuries causing her to play well below her best. Williams suffered a shock third round exit in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the third round to Elina Svitolina and was knocked out of the US Open in the semi-final to Karolina Pliskova.

A shoulder injury forced her miss the Rogers Cup while the same injury caused her to withdraw from the recently concluded WTA finals, which was held in Singapore from the 23-30 October.