Maria Sharapova may be sidelined nursing a shoulder injury, but that has not stopped her from taking part in interviews and making tennis headlines with her apparent rivalry with Serena Williams. The Russian superstar admits that there is no animosity between herself and the World no. 1 following their spat during the Wimbledon Championships this year.
“We haven’t spoken too much about it,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “But we did [put it behind us]. We left a lot of what had happened in London.”
The issue between the two stars stems from an interview that Williams gave to Rolling Stone prior to Wimbledon, where she appeared to take a slight dig at Sharapova’s relationship with Bulgarian no. 1 Grigor Dimitrov. In response, Sharapova snapped back by mentioning Serena’s more secret relationship with coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
“If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova said during her pre-tournament news conference at Wimbledon. “She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about.”
Williams apologized for her comments the following day and mentioned that her comment was not in reference to Grigor Dimitrov.
“I’ve always been tough,” Sharapova said. “It’s won me a lot in life. I’m not the strongest girl, I’m not the fastest girl on the court, but I’ve been extremely tough and it’s brought me many titles, many victories and many smiles.”
While they may not be friends, Sharapova admits that Williams has earned her professional respect due to her magnificent accomplishments, particularly at her age.
“I think Serena has done an incredible job on the court. Her tennis has spoken for itself in the last however many years she’s competed. The amount of Grand Slams that she’s been able to win, especially at her age now, still competing at the highest level and maybe her best level yet, speaks a lot to what she’s accomplished.
Sharapova hasn’t played since since the Western & Southern Open after the US Open because of a shoulder injury. It is her second serious shoulder injury, which makes her consider what life may be like without tennis.
“At the end of the day, it is tennis that’s brought us all these other things. But I think it’s also how you use it and how you want to use it. Not many players have the interest to do other things, which is OK, because if we’re good enough at what we do, if we’re successful, if we make the right amount of money, some people don’t have to. We have the luxury not to. I think it’s a choice.”
“I’ve played tennis since I was 4 years old, so the idea of not playing tennis and not having anything to do at all actually scares me,” she said.