“But, to me, the real answer was there, in this locker room, where I was changing and she was bawling.
I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon.” Williams is a prominent fixture in Sharapova’s book and in many of the popular narratives surrounding Sharapova.
From 2002 to 2003, when Sharapova was just coming onto the scene, that player was Serena Williams.
Williams had just come off what’s known as the “Serena Slam,” a term she coined herself after she won four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments but not within the same calendar year (the term riffs on “Grand Slam,” which a player achieves when she consecutively sweeps the four annual grand slam tournaments — the Australian Open in January, the French Open in May, Wimbledon in July, and the US Open in August/September — in a single calendar year).
Sharapova and Williams would play again that year at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships, with Sharapova winning again.
From that tournament on, the hype surrounding Sharapova was that she was one of the few players who could beat Williams and challenge her greatness.
That’s a huge reason there’s so much interest in her memoir: People want to read Sharapova’s take on 13 years of losses to Williams and find out whether she thinks she’s capable of beating Williams again.
Maria Sharapova is an entertaining tennis player — but more so off the court than on.
To understand the depth of the Sharapova-Williams feud, it’s important to understand that at any given moment, the game of tennis tends to revolve around a single player.
For long stretches in both men’s and women’s tennis, one player has usually become the face of the game.
Williams, who had beaten Sharapova at a tournament in Miami earlier that year, was playing Wimbledon while recovering from injury.