Serena Williams easily defeated Maria Sharapova 7 pm Monday at the Arthur Ashe Museum. That was during the first match at the US Open—a first-round Grand Slam match at that. Williams won 6-1, 6-1.
Such rivalry has been going on for 15 years, and after 21 meetings, Williams proved that the rivalry is not one for the books. Williams dominated it with 19-2 wins.
How the Williams-Sharapova rivalry begun
The supposed rivalry began with Sharapova’s book, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, wherein she talked about Williams Wimbledon finals lost in 2004. Sharapova was 17 years old then.
Documenting the early tension between the two, Sharapova said, “I don’t think she’s ever forgiven me for it.” She witnessed Williams’s “low and vulnerable moment” when she followed her to the locker room and heard “guttural sobs” from Williams.
Sharapova also claimed that Williams told a common friend of theirs that “I will never lose to that little b**** again.”
Williams, on her part, said that she anticipated the book coming out. She was a fan of Sharapova after all. But after learning the book was about her (about half of the pages), she was disappointed. “I think the book was 100% hearsay,” she blurted out.
Williams continued, “I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it’s normal… I think it would be more shocking if I wasn’t in tears.”
The 2013 word war between the two women’s tennis superstars fueled the feud. Grigor Dimitrov, Williams’s rumoured ex-beau and who was dating Sharapova then, got in the way.
Williams said, “If she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.”
Sharapova retorted by saying, “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.” She hinted Williams’s dating her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
Sharapova ranks No. 87
Sharapova was not playing her best tennis since she emerged after her enforced absence due to a drug test failure. Injuries also plagued her last few years on the court.
Sports analysts have said what we see today is a shadow of the Russian tennis player who has already won five Grand Slam titles under her belt.
In 2019, she was also axed out in the first round of the Wimbledon against Pauline Parmentier at 5-0.
However, Sharapova is also known as the player who defeats her first-round opponent. She did so with Simona Halep in 2006 US Open.
Sharapova also performs well during night sessions in New York, winning 23 of the 24 matches she played.
Williams won the 19 of 21 matches
Sharapova only defeated Williams at the JP Morgan Chase Open a few games after her Wimbledon win. The rivalry should have stopped there since it took a one-sided turn from then on.
Williams won the next 18 matches. It should have been 19 if not for an injury that prompted her to pull out from the 2018 French Open. Only four of all these matches have gone to the third set. The most iconic meeting would be the 2012 Olympic gold medal match.
Such dominance and so-called rivalry will be open to debate—forever!