The 2014 Australian Open kicks off on Sunday and both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova hope to add another champion’s trophy to their display cases. The on-court war between these two elite athletes can only continue if both make the finals as they are on opposite sides of the 128-woman draw. Their off-court feud, on the other hand, has been a regular conversation piece in the tennis world recently and those talks will certainly continue in Melbourne.
In the past, Williams has had the clear edge on Sharapova on the court. Sharapova has not won a single match against Williams since winning back-to-back matches in 2004. In the decade since, Williams has won the last 14 consecutive matches, making the career series between the two a lopsided 15-2 record in Williams’ favor. When these two ladies leave the court, their ability to compete with each other balances out in what has been a temperamental relationship.
Matt Cronin, of TennisReporters.net, shares that Sharapova and Williams have engaged in quarrelsome disputes over a number of topics including a man, as typical and silly as that seems. Fellow professional tennis player, Grigor Dimitrov, was previously seen hanging out with Williams in what was rumored to be a romantic relationship. Dimitrov is now openly dating Sharapova and Williams seemed to take offense to that when she told Rolling Stone Magazine “…if [Sharapova] wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.”
This passive-aggressive remark was an unprofessional statement by Williams who ought to have left her personal issues with her Russian foe out of the media. With the statement out there, it was up to Sharapova to be the bigger person and ignore such a high school drama-like callout. Unfortunately, Sharapova stooped to Williams’ level and retorted in a later interview, “I just think [Williams] should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that’s just getting attention and controversy. 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.”
Oh no she didn’t!
Yes, Sharapova went there, calling out Williams for her coach and boyfriend, Patrick Mouratoglou, who is apparently not yet divorced from his wife. In Sharapova’s defense, Williams’ comment about her boyfriend was preceded by a crack at her ability to get invited to the A-list events, “She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties.” Naturally, Sharapova just had to come back with something to really get Williams where it counts, right?
Sharapova and Williams are each in the top three of the world’s best female tennis players. Both women get paid millions of dollars per year to be professionals on the court as well as spokeswomen for high-profile businesses. What is more than that, they are watched by young girls everywhere and need to be examples of professionalism and maturity. This is not your junior high bathroom. You do not need to talk about another girl because she stole your man. Grow up, play your game, do your interviews with poise and class and then go home. It is not that hard, ladies. Get your acts together.
I certainly hope to see a great match-up between Sharapova and Williams in a couple weeks to close out the Australian Open, but if I ever have to hear them bickering about their personal lives again, it would be too soon.