Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova shared a furious rivalry throughout their professional careers. Apart from their on-court battle, the two have never hesitated to take shots at each other on the mic. The pair have clashed against each other a total of 22 times between 2004 and 2019, and Williams, in dominant fashion, leads the tally with 20 wins.
The Russian managed to win against the 23-time singles Grand Slam Champion twice in 2004; since then, Williams has emerged as an indomitable force against Sharapova. Consequently, in addition to the top-class on-court action, the feud between the two women’s tennis icons was also full of controversies.
In an interview, former American tennis player Rick Macci revealed that Maria Sharapova and her father, Yuri, had their eyes set on the Williams sisters when they arrived at his academy for training. He also stated that the main reason behind the strife between the two tennis stars was their personal disagreement.
Keeping Williams’ dominance in mind against Sharapova, Macci quoted that it was a ‘bad matchup’ for the Russian every time she squared off against the 7-time Wimbledon champion. He also added that the American’s attacking style forced Sharapova into a defensive zone for the entire game.
There was an amazing beginning, and an even better ending. 🐐 @serenawilliams pic.twitter.com/qAKMIggs6D
— Rick Macci (@RickMacci) August 9, 2022
“Whenever Serena played her, it was a bad matchup for Sharapova because Serena knew she had to be aggressive, she had to bring the confident streetfight. She had to bring the firepower because Maria would control the points against 95% of people on the tour but against Serena, she couldn’t, and then Maria had to play more defense, and that was a bad matchup,” Macci said.
Why did Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams not like each other?
In 2004, at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Maria Sharapova defeated Serena Williams to win her first-ever Grand Slam title. After the win, it seemed like the world of tennis had found the perfect heir to the acclaimed Martina Navratilova-Chris Evert rivalry.
However, that never happened, especially on the tennis court. With 20-2, Sharapova failed to give Williams tough competition, as was initially expected from her although the personal differences between the two always managed to top the charts,
A mutual sense of dislike was present on both sides. Consequently, it became public when Williams called out the relationship between Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov before the 2013 Wimbledon. The Russian gave a befitting reply to her arch-nemesis, however, the feud never actually ended.
Sharapova also talked about Williams in her 2016 memoir saying “Serena Williams has marked the heights and limits of my career.” A year later, the 5-time Grand Slam winner infamously said that they’d ‘never be friends’. Thus, even after retirement, it’s fair to say that the two WTA stars aren’t on equal grounds.