Maria Sharapova has slammed the current crop of women’s tennis stars as she complimented old colleague Serena Williams following the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s retirement.
The Russian announced herself when she upset Williams to win Wimbledon as a 17-year-old back in 2004 but won just one more match against the American for the rest of her career.
Williams played her final tournament at the US Open, bowing out in a fitting three-set battle with Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. The former world No 1 had barely played for over a year after injuring herself in the first round at Wimbledon last year, and made her return in the doubles at Eastbourne this summer.
She then played her first singles match in a year at Wimbledon, losing in the opening round to Harmony Tan, and played the WTA 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati during which she announced her decision to “evolve away from tennis”, saying goodbye in Flushing Meadows. Sharapova has now confessed that she told the 73-time title winner that she was better than the current WTA players a year ago, despite Williams’ injury layoff.
The five-time Grand Slam champion returned to the US Open on women’s semi-final day and joined the ESPN team in the commentary booth, sharing her conversation with Williams from last year’s Met Gala. “It was amazing to see Serena’s run and the glory and the gracious tenacity as she carried through to the end of her career,” the former world No 1 started.