Sharapova, Serena set up bitter Wimbledon campaign

LONDON: Maria Sharapova tore into Wimbledon rival Serena Williams on the eve of the Championships, setting the tone for a tournament likely to be dominated by their unseemly public row.

The Russian blasted the defending champion for her controversial comments over a high-profile rape case and even ripped into the American’s colorful private life.

In the astonishing attack on the world No. 1, Sharapova told Williams to keep her opinions to herself, laying bare the bitter relationship between the two.

Williams, the 16-time Grand Slam title-winner, was forced to apologize for her comments regarding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in Ohio.

“She should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that’s just getting attention and controversy,” said Sharapova.

The world No. 3, who has not beaten her great rival since 2004, also criticized Williams’s love life after the American had aimed a thinly-disguised jibe at the Russian’s affair with Bulgarian player, Grigor Dimitrov—believed to be a former Williams boyfriend.

“There are people who live, breathe and dress tennis. I mean, seriously, give it a rest,” Williams told Rolling Stone magazine without naming Sharapova.

“She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’—it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.”

Sharapova, clearly upset at the insinuation, hit back at Williams’s romance with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

“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,” said Sharapova.

Williams, targeting a sixth All England Club title and 17th major, is fresh from her second French Open triumph, having beaten Sharapova in the final.

Williams is on a 31-match winning run, the best of a career which is already comfortably into its third decade.

She is now just two Grand Slam titles behind the 18 won by Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and four back from the 22 racked up by Steffi Graf.

Williams’ confidence is bad news for Sharapova, who is seeking a second Wimbledon title, nine years after her first.

Sharapova’s defeat in Paris was her 14th in 16 meetings with the American with her last win coming back on 2004.

Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is seeded second and the Belarusian will be looking to go further than the semifinals she reached in the last two years at Wimbledon.

Read more :
  • Kaia Kanepi forced out of Olympics
    Estonia's Kaia Kanepi has withdrawn from the Olympic Games with a heel injury. The 27-year-old had expected to recover in time to represent her country at the Games, with the tennis taking...
  • Brian Gay reaps reward after long battle to add yards
    LA QUINTA, California - Brian Gay's quest to add length to his driving led to a frustrating 2012 campaign but his increased yardage off the tee helped him clinch his fourth PGA Tour victory...
  • Andy Murray to face Stanislav Wawrinka at Olympics
    Andy Murray has been handed a tough opening test at the Olympics as he was drawn to face Stanislas Wawrinka in the first round. Murray is looking to do better than his first-round defeat t...
  • PSG held as David Beckham returns to scene of 1998 shame
    David Beckham returned to the scene of his infamous 1998 World Cup red card horror show on Sunday, but was unable to inspire his Paris Saint-Germain team to victory in a 2-2 draw with Saint...
  • Teary Wawrinka gave everything in Djokovic defeat
    MELBOURNE - A teary Stanislas Wawrinka was adamant there was nothing more he could have done to beat Novak Djokovic after going down to the defending champion in a late-night thriller at th...
  • Ravens swoop for revenge win over Patriots
    FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts - The Baltimore Ravens won their AFC title rematch against the New England Patriots, using a commanding second-half display to pull away for a 28-13 triumph on Sun...
  • Webber to leave F1 at the end of season
    SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom: Mark Webber on Thursday confirmed what many close observers suspected when he announced that he will be leaving Red Bull and Formula One at the end of this seas...
  • Didier Drogba dropped from Ivory Coast squad
    Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was left out of Cote d'Ivoire's squad for football World Cup qualifier against Gambia on Saturday. Drogba disappointed coach Sabri Lamouchi after the q...