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Sunday, June 23, 2013
In her pre-tournament press conference Saturday, No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova directed some pointed remarks at No. 1 Serena Williams in response to comments that appeared in a Rolling Stone article apparently criticizing Sharapova and her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov.
"Obviously I have a tremendous amount of respect for Serena and what she's achieved on the court," Sharapova said. "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. Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that's what it should be about."
Williams has been linked romantically to coach Patrick Mouratoglou, though neither has discussed their relationship specifically. Mouratoglou was married until recently.
Mouratoglou responded Saturday: "I don't think anything about it (about what Sharapova said)," he told The Guardian newspaper. "My role is to think about tennis and to help Serena be the best she can be and do what she wants to achieve. I'm just here for tennis."
Here is the excerpt from Rolling Stone:
"There are people who live, breathe and dress tennis. I mean, seriously, give it a rest." Serena exits the car and the conversation moves on to a top-five player who is now in love. "She begins every interview with 'I'm so happy. I'm so lucky' – it's so boring," says Serena in a loud voice. "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." (An educated guess is she's talking about Sharapova, who is now dating Grigor Dimitrov, one of Serena's rumored exes.)
Despite the assertion, there is at least some debate in the tennis world as to whether the target of Williams' comments was indeed Sharapova.
Williams is the overwhelming favorite entering the week, but she now has two controversies bubbling that might be distractions.
The other involves insensitive comments in the same Rolling Stone article involving the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case.Sharapova beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final. But Williams has won their past 13 matches, including the French Open final two weeks ago.
The news conference — Sharapova's thoughts about returning to the winner's circle (her only title came in 2004) — took another detour when Novak Djokovic hijacked the proceedings.
Two days ago, Djokovic and Dimitrov each delivered Sharapova impressions during an exhibition.
Here is the exchange:
DJOKOVIC: Nice hair, Maria. Beautiful hair today.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Can we talk about what you did the other day (smiling)?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You didn't like the video?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I loved it (laughter).
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Who was better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: By the way, I don't do any of those things anymore. None of those. I don't stick my ass out anymore, OK? I don't do this with my hair anymore. You haven't watched me play recently.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I watch you play.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Then you need a new me.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, no, trust me.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: You're actually starting to look a bit like Roddick when you're imitating.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Really?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes. That's how he serves.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Who did impersonation better?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I don't know.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Oh, look at her. Make a choice.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: This is not multiple choice, OK?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Enjoy. Sorry, guys.