Two of the top three seeds will renew their rivalry less than a full week into the 2014 season, as world No. 1 Serena Williams and third seed Maria Sharapova are scheduled to clash in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International. The two will meet for the first time since the finals of the French Open, where Williams earned her 16th Grand Slam title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sharapova.
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. Williams apologized for her comments the following day and mentioned that her comment was not in reference to Grigor Dimitrov.
“It’s very difficult I think for anyone to be best buddies when you’re so competitive,” Williams said. “But I don’t have a problem with anyone. I get along with everyone. I have respect for people not only on the court but as well as off the court. I don’t have any problem when it comes to anything like that. I don’t take jabs or anything. I am who I am and I don’t hide anything. I’m totally fine.”
The Russian superstar insists that there is no animosity between herself and the World no. 1 following their spat during the Wimbledon Championships this year.
The tournament’s other semi-final will feature the other two seeds as world no. 2 Victoria Azarenka is scheduled to meet Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic for a place in the Brisbane International final.