Serena Williams (R) and Maria Sharapova have had a frosty relationship. Pic: Wayne Ludbey
Serena Williams (R) and Maria Sharapova have had a frosty relationship. Pic: Wayne Ludbey

‘She’s never forgiven me’: origin of Serena-Maria feud

DESPITE holding a 19-2 advantage over Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams has a score to settle with the Russian.

Peeved by large tracts of Sharapova's book 'Unstoppable: My Life So Far', Williams blasted Sharapova in the spicy prelude the pair's fourth-round French Open clash.

Williams branded Sharapova's version of events following her victory over the American in the 2004 Wimbledon final as hearsay.

Maria Sharapova reacts after winning the 2004 Wimbledon final over Williams. Pic: AP
Maria Sharapova reacts after winning the 2004 Wimbledon final over Williams. Pic: AP

Sharapova said one of the reasons William has been able to remain unbeaten against her in 14 years is the fury the Williams felt at Wimbledon.

"I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon. I think she hated me for taking something that she believed belonged to her," Sharapova wrote in the book.

"I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She's never forgiven me for it.

"Not long after the tournament, I heard Serena told a friend - who then told me - 'I will never lose to that little b**** again'."

Williams owns a dominant record over Sharapova.
Williams owns a dominant record over Sharapova.

Williams rubbished the claim.

"I think the book was 100 per cent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing," she said.

"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 if anything, it shows the passion and the desire and the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.

"It's a Wimbledon final … I think it would be more shocking if I wasn't in tears.

"And I am emotional and I do have emotions and I wear them on my sleeve. I'm human. So for me I think it's totally normal.

"I think what happens there should definitely maybe stay there and not necessarily talk about it in a not-so-positive way in a book."

Williams says Sharapova’s memories of the 2004 Wimbledon final aren’t how she remembers it.
Williams says Sharapova’s memories of the 2004 Wimbledon final aren’t how she remembers it.

Williams admitted she was surprised by how much of Sharapova's book focused on her and questioned why she had featured so much.

"Well, as a fan, I wanted to read the book and I was really excited for it to come out and I was really happy for her,' she added.

"And then the book was a lot about me. I was surprised about that, to be honest.

"I didn't expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn't necessarily true.

"I didn't know she looked up to me that much or was so involved in my career."

Serena Williams has stormed into the third round of the French Open.
Serena Williams has stormed into the third round of the French Open.

Despite being irked by the book, Williams says she has no negative feelings towards Sharapova, contradicting another of the Russian's claims.

"So I don't have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book," Williams said.

"So I feel like now she's doing well again, and I have never had any hard feelings toward her.

"So I feel like whenever I play her, obviously I go out there the way I play everyone else. I go extremely hard, and, you know, I don't play anyone different.

"I play everyone so hard because they play me really hard and I always have to be ready for it.."

Williams and Sharapova in action at the 2016 Australian Open Pic: Colleen Petch
Williams and Sharapova in action at the 2016 Australian Open Pic: Colleen Petch

Williams stirred the pot by declaring Sharapova favourite to reach the quarter-finals.

"Well, quite frankly, she's probably a favourite in this match, for sure," she said.

"She's been playing, like I said, for over a year now. I just started.

"So I'm just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.

"But I think this will be another test. I think this is just one of her best surfaces, and she always does really, really well here.

"So this would be a good opportunity for me kind of to see where I am and just hopefully continue to go forward."

 

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