‘I Will Not Watch Them’ – Maria Sharapova Explains What She Said When Venus and Serena Williams Came To Practice at the Same Academy

Published 01/25/2023, 10:17 AM EST
Maria Sharapova of Russia looks on during her WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019 tennis match on January 28, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

While everyone wanted to see the young Williams sisters and learn from the talented duo. Maria Sharapova just wanted to stand out from the crowd. And had other plans regarding the tennis iconic sisters, Venus, and Serena Williams. Instead of appreciating their brilliance, she was eager to find ways to outwit them on the tennis court.

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Over the years, Maria Sharapova has changed her thoughts regarding the iconic tennis sisters. From not liking each other to appreciating each other on the tennis court, they have grown closer. However, there was a time when the Russian tennis player was young and had a clear intention of defeating the Williams sisters. 

Maria Sharapova once snuck in to see the Williams sisters play 

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Back when the Russian tennis player was quite young and was training in the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, she refused to see Williams sister play when they joined the same tennis academy after making a good name for themselves. Sharapova, in her book Unstoppable: My life so far , shared an instance when the iconic sister duo came into the academy to display their skills on the tennis court. However, when everyone around her were eagerly waiting to witness them in action, Sharapova, on the other hand, was only eyeing to beat them and not watch them like the other players did. 

Serena Williams (L) and Venus Williams touch rackets after Serena Williams defeated Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 during Top Seed Open – Day 4 at the Top Seed Tennis Club on August 13, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

She wrote, “I will not watch them. I’m not going to let them see me at their practice. I don’t care if there are a hundred people watching and they have no idea who I am. I will never give them that satisfaction.”

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So, the five-time Grand Slam champion came up with a cunning way to watch their gameplay and analyze their shots. She watched the William sisters through a knothole in a shed, all alone, sitting by herself in the dark. However, not only this but there was also something else that marked the beginning of their intense rivalry. 

What ignited the Williams-Sharapova Rivalry? 

By the time the Russian tennis player stunned the tennis world by winning her first Wimbledon in 2004, the William sisters had already won grand slams prior to 2004. The Wimbledon Final in 2004 witnessed one of the biggest clash between Serena Williams and the rising superstar Sharapova.

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The Russian tennis player in the same autobiography wrote about how Serena took the loss. Sharapova mentioned that Serena was very upset after the loss. And Williams apparently told Sharapova’s friend, “I will never lose to that little b** again.”. It’s safe to say that the 23-time Grand Slam champion took the defeat quite personally. After that loss, Serena’s record against Sharapova was impressive, winning most of her duels against her. The American tennis legend does have a strong head-to-head record facing the five-time Grand Slam champion. In their 22 on-court encounters, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has only suffered two defeats.

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Pratishtha Prakash

593 articles

Pratishtha Prakash is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism from MIT ADT University, Pune. In the past, she has interned at the sports desk of The Hitavada, a regional English daily newspaper.

Edited By: Arijit Saha

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