Women’s champion Williams, 37, snubbed Barty, 23, during her pre-Wimbledon press conference in
But the 23-times grand slam champion – who has been world number 1 herself for a total of 319 weeks – had to be told by a reporter that Barty was the new leader in the women’s game.
World number 11 Serena Williams (pictured), 37, snubbed Barty, 23, at her pre-Wimbledon press conference in London on Saturday
Barty recently rose to number one after back-to-back wins at the French Open and the Birmingham Classic. She is pictured after her Birmingham victory
‘Wow, that’s great,’ Williams, currently the world number 11, answered the reporter.
‘I think Ash, I don’t know anyone that has anything negative to say about her. She’s like the sweetest, cutest girl on tour. She’s so nice.
‘She has the most beautiful game, such classic shots. I mean, she does everything right. Her technique is, like, flawless.
‘Obviously I’m happy for her. Yeah, it’s good. It’s good for her.’
Barty and Williams could clash in the quarter-finals, but Williams isn’t looking that far ahead, let alone matching Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 singles majors.
‘I can’t go into grand slams thinking about records,’ she said.
‘I just have to go in a grand slam and think about just the first match.
‘If I get that, I think about the next match. If I’m in the final, try to win one for once. That’s kind of what I think about.’
Williams (pictured) sung Barty’s praises after snubbing her. She hailed Barty as a ‘really even-tempered’ tennis player
Barty and Williams could clash in the quarter-finals provided both players make it through. She is pictured after her French Open win
The American superstar endorsed Barty as a genuine chance of becoming Australia’s first Wimbledon singles champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
‘She has a great game. I think, like, she’s really even-tempered,’ Williams said.
‘She’s just really chill. I feel like she’s just so relaxed in a way. She’s had a solid year, as well. It’s not just the French Open. I believe she won Miami. She’s had a really good year.
‘Yeah, I think anything is possible.’
The Wimbledon Tennis Championships start on Monday, July 1 and run until Sunday, July 14, 2019.