Done with the talk, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova gear up for start of Wimbledon

  • Article by: EDDIE PELLS , AP National Writer
  • Updated: June 24, 2013 - 7:35 AM

LONDON — The next time Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova meet, it will likely be on a tennis court, with a net separating them — maybe even at Wimbledon, in the final, on the first Saturday in July.

"I think it's great for women's tennis when we play each other," Williams said.

Until then, fans and non-fans alike can keep picking apart the unexpected trade of verbal jousts between two of the sport's biggest stars — a back-and-forth that has turned the lead-up to Wimbledon into something much more than simple tennis talk.

The latest chapter came on the eve of the tournament, which starts Monday. Trying to set aside a number of awkward outcomes from a Rolling Stone profile of her posted online last week, Williams used her pre-tournament news conference Sunday to express her apologies.

— For comments that put both her and Sharapova's love lives on center stage.

— For remarks she made about the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case.

— And, it seemed, every bit as much for letting the author of that story into her private world, thus turning the buildup to Wimbledon into a festival of dirty laundry that has the headline writers for the London tabloids drooling. ("This time it's personal" and "I'm sorry, Maria!" were among the lines used.)

"It definitely hasn't been easy," the No. 1-ranked Williams said about the stir created by the magazine's profile. "And I feel like I really wanted to say: I apologize for everything that was said in that article."

Earlier in the week, Williams had issued a statement expressing regret for remarks about the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville case. On Sunday, she said she and the family "came to a wonderful understanding, and we're constantly in contact."

Also Sunday, Williams explained that she approached the No. 3-ranked Sharapova to try to smooth things over by extending an apology at a pre-tournament players' party Thursday. The exchanges between the two can be traced to a passage where the story's author surmised that something critical Williams said during a telephone conversation with her sister referred to Sharapova.

Williams said Sharapova accepted her apology. If that was the case, however, it sure didn't show Saturday, when Sharapova delivered her own broadside during her news conference: "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."

Asked to respond to that dig 24 hours later, Williams declined, saying: "I definitely was told of (Sharapova's) comments. I definitely like to keep my personal life personal. I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on it."

With play beginning Monday — Roger Federer begins defense of his seventh title on Centre Court, with Sharapova playing her first-round match afterward — much of this talk is certain to die down. But it's just as certain to pick back up in about two weeks if the players, on opposite sides of the bracket, advance to the final.

"There's no guarantee that I'll be there," Williams said. "But I'm definitely hoping that I can play and win seven matches."

She's a heavy favorite to do so, going 74-3 and collecting three of four major titles since the start of Wimbledon in 2012. That, perhaps not coincidentally, is when she began working with French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, to whom Williams has been linked romantically.

Neither has confirmed publicly whether they're a couple, but Sharapova's shot on Saturday was taken as a reference to Williams and Mouratoglou. Sharapova was responding to a question about the portion of the Rolling Stone story in which Williams spoke to her sister about what the reporter described as "a top-five player who is now in love."

Williams lamented Sunday that "a private conversation" was reported about, but she also laughingly conceded: "I've been in the business for a little over 200 years, so I should definitely, definitely know better. I should know better to always have my guard up."

She is quoted in the article as saying: "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."

That is followed by these words in parentheses from the writer: "An educated guess is she's talking about Sharapova, who is now dating Grigor Dimitrov, one of Serena's rumored exes."

On Sunday, Williams said: "I made it a point to reach out to Maria. ... I said, 'Look, I want to personally apologize to you if you are offended by being brought into my situation. I want to take this moment to ... be open, say I'm very sorry.'"

Williams repeatedly used some version of the phrase "inadvertently brought into a situation" to describe the way Sharapova got involved.

"It's important what I've learned this week — mostly that it's so important to know all the facts before you make a comment or before you make an assumption," Williams said. "That's something I'm still learning."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Atlanta 62 3rd Qtr 2:29
Washington 60
Golden State 61 3rd Qtr
Miami 62
Detroit 37 2nd Qtr 7:25
Milwaukee 36
Sacramento 32 2nd Qtr 8:52
New Orleans 26
Chicago 8:00 PM
Denver
Winnipeg 3 2nd Prd :43
Columbus 1
Ottawa 0 1st Prd 1:10
St. Louis 1
Los Angeles 1 1st Prd :41
Nashville 1
Edmonton 0 1st Prd 16:34
Dallas 0
Colorado 8:00 PM
Arizona
New Jersey 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Calgary 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Fresno State 52 FINAL
East Carolina 58
Morgan State 73 FINAL
Elon 74
Purdue 82 FINAL
Missouri 61
Hawaii 62 FINAL
Marist 55
Liberty 57 FINAL
North Florida 77
MD-Eastern Shore 55 FINAL
Bucknell 58
Western Carolina 70 FINAL
Georgia State 85
BYU 121 FINAL
Chaminade 85
Evansville 62 FINAL
Green Bay 64
Alabama 61 2nd Half 4:14
Arizona State 59
UT Martin 63 2nd Half 7:48
Bethune-Cookman 42
SE Missouri St 51 2nd Half 2:42
Bowling Green 54
NC Central 46 2nd Half 2:58
Cincinnati 52
Fair-Dickinson 41 2nd Half 4:47
Columbia 46
Citadel 45 2nd Half 3:22
Florida State 55
Houston 54 2nd Half 2:12
Harvard 78
William Peace 69 2nd Half 2:03
High Point 85
Texas-Arlington 40 2nd Half 3:58
Kentucky 87
St Francis-NY 53 2nd Half 4:36
La Salle 65
Boston Univ 53 2nd Half 6:51
New Hampshire 57
Chicago State 49 2nd Half 2:46
Oakland 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 47 2nd Half 6:43
Ohio 50
Hartford 46 2nd Half 3:30
Quinnipiac 40
Saint Peters 52 2nd Half 7:42
Rutgers 39
Jackson State 55 2nd Half 9:58
St Bonaventure 55
Long Island 60 2nd Half 2:53
Saint Josephs 61
Hofstra 60 2nd Half 4:45
South Florida 53
Western Ky 53 2nd Half 6:11
Stony Brook 54
Loyola-Maryland 29 2nd Half 8:01
Syracuse 56
Penn 59 2nd Half 9:15
Temple 62
Detroit 64 2nd Half 4:16
Toledo 69
Tennessee St 36 2nd Half 0:36
Virginia 79
Northern Iowa 63 2nd Half 8:34
Virginia Tech 43
Western Ill 49 FINAL
William & Mary 83
Ohio Valley 53 2nd Half 3:51
Wofford 74
Toccoa Falls 40 FINAL
Presbyterian 63
Mount Ida 54 2nd Half 3:19
UMass Lowell 96
Kansas State 32 2nd Half 19:16
Arizona 31
Binghamton 23 2nd Half 20:00
Army 38
Central Arkansas 24 2nd Half 20:00
Char Southern 41
Howard 31 2nd Half 20:00
UMBC 26
VA Commonwealth 39 2nd Half 14:20
Oregon 35
Arkansas 36 2nd Half 19:26
SMU 22
Jacksonville St 27 1st Half 3:42
Alabama A&M 20
TX A&M-CC 12 1st Half 4:36
Bradley 16
Eastern Ill 20 1st Half 1:03
Creighton 38
St Xavier 28 1st Half 3:47
Ill-Chicago 36
Northern Ariz 26 2nd Half
Middle Tennessee 26
Nebraska Omaha 29 1st Half 3:50
Nebraska 36
Akron 36 1st Half 2:58
Penn State 26
NC A&T 14 1st Half 4:05
Saint Louis 18
Columbia International 13 1st Half 9:17
SC State 23
Troy 34 1st Half 2:14
Southern Miss 28
St Francis-PA 23 1st Half 1:37
Texas 34
Northwestern St 18 1st Half 4:57
Texas Tech 34
Loyola-Chicago 27 1st Half 0:54
TX-San Antonio 32
Southern U 23 1st Half 3:43
Tulane 27
Norfolk State 21 1st Half 2:51
Vanderbilt 31
Jarvis Christian 21 1st Half 2:29
Abilene Christian 30
MN-Crookston 34 1st Half 1:20
North Dakota St 36
Lamar 24 1st Half 4:09
Arkansas State 27
IUPUI 18 1st Half 3:40
Drake 32
San Francisco 5 1st Half 15:47
Fla Gulf Coast 7
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Charlotte
Air Force 8:00 PM
Colorado
Boise State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Louisiana 8:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Maryland 8:30 PM
Iowa State
Northwestern 8:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Villanova 9:00 PM
Michigan
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Bristol University 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Cal State Fullerton 10:00 PM
USC
Delaware 10:00 PM
Stanford
Ohio U 7 3rd Qtr
Miami-Ohio 21
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Belmont 55 FINAL
Kent State 58
Robert Morris 75 FINAL
Coppin State 58
UMKC 48 FINAL
Western Ill 71
Manhattan 48 FINAL
La Salle 61
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
Arizona 61
Santa Clara 69 FINAL
LSU 67
Tulsa 67 FINAL
Texas Southern 64
SE Missouri St 57 FINAL
Ole Miss 58
Air Force 35 FINAL
Army 79
Towson 59 FINAL
UMBC 54
St Bonaventure 56 FINAL
Penn State 54
Texas-El Paso 43 FINAL
Kansas State 72
Cheyney 38 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 63
Johnson C. Smith 45 FINAL
NC A&T 76
Winthrop 71 FINAL
NC Central 63
USC Upstate 50 FINAL
SC State 60
Quinnipiac 52 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 112
Buffalo 54 FINAL
(8) Duke 88
Bryant 67 FINAL
Brown 60
Saint Josephs 63 FINAL
Drexel 76
New Hampshire 39 FINAL
Penn 74
High Point 57 FINAL
Davidson 76
Washington St 74 2nd Half 0:01
Hampton 60
Vermont 49 2nd Half 4:56
Central Conn St 52
St Francis-NY 44 2nd Half 0:13
NJIT 44
(21) Rutgers 75 2nd Half 5:52
Wagner 49
IUPU-Ft Wayne 52 2nd Half 4:07
Coastal Carolina 76
Fairleigh Dickinson 51 2nd Half 5:22
Monmouth 59
Jacksonville 45 2nd Half 6:10
UCF 56
SIU-Edwardsville 53 2nd Half 5:23
IUPUI 75
Duquesne 68 2nd Half 7:39
Howard 45
Fordham 47 2nd Half 0:21
Delaware 44
Liberty 49 2nd Half 4:36
Elon 62
Valparaiso 54 2nd Half 3:21
Akron 96
Grambling 54 2nd Half 3:44
Georgia Tech 94
Western Ky 50 2nd Half 7:45
(12) Louisville 74
Arizona State 52 2nd Half 4:29
Miami-Florida 55
Charleston Southern 43 2nd Half 9:58
Florida 61
Georgia Southern 46 2nd Half 3:34
(22) Georgia 89
Tenn Tech 58 2nd Half 4:06
Mercer 62
Hillsdale 52 2nd Half 3:38
Eastern Michigan 69
Ohio U 77 2nd Half 0:44
Northern Ky 36
Gardner-Webb 61 2nd Half 7:31
Appalachian St 58
Bucknell 48 2nd Half 5:43
Youngstown St 57
Lafayette 60 2nd Half 4:42
Rider 37
Lehigh 64 2nd Half 3:02
Saint Peters 56
George Mason 61 2nd Half 3:22
Navy 71
Old Dominion 63 2nd Half 0:29
Virginia Tech 58
SW Assemblies 36 2nd Half
Houston Baptist 43
LSU-Alexandria 47 2nd Half 8:02
Northwestern St 73
Wofford 38 2nd Half 11:29
Jacksonville St 43
ULM 10 1st Half 2:26
(25) Miss State 40
Morgan State 19 1st Half 1:24
(20) Oklahoma St 26
Lyon 20 1st Half 1:35
Central Arkansas 31
Lamar 17 1st Half 4:41
Texas State 26
Mobile 23 2nd Half
SE Louisiana 30
St Edwards 20 1st Half 2:33
Stephen F Austin 8
Lipscomb 42 1st Half 0:35
Murray State 35
UAB 19 1st Half 4:27
Loyola-Chicago 19
Northern Iowa 19 1st Half 2:56
(17) Iowa 20
Southern U 21 1st Half 4:25
Minnesota 49
Harvard 31 1st Half 3:44
Holy Cross 22
Colorado 8:00 PM
Denver
Portland State 8:00 PM
Oregon
Montana State 8:00 PM
San Diego
Idaho 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 9:30 PM
San Francisco
Yale 10:59 PM
Alaska-Anchorage

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close