No love lost as Sharapova slams Williams

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

No love lost as Sharapova slams Williams

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

In the astonishing attack on the world number one, 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 apologise for her comments regarding a rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in Ohio. Williams is quoted as saying the victim “shouldn’t have put herself in that position”.

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

The world number three, who has not beaten her great rival since 2004, also criticised 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 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 has been linked to Mouratoglou, but neither has confirmed their relationship extends beyond the court. When Mouratoglou was asked about the topic at the French Open this month, he smiled and replied: “Sorry. I don’t understand the question.”

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 comfortably into its third decade. She is 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’s confidence is bad news for Sharapova, who is seeking a second Wimbledon title, nine years after her first.

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