Sharapova Stuns Serena; Federer vs. Roddick Today at Wimbledon

Posted on July 4, 2004

Two-time defending champ Serena Williams was overwhelmed 6-1, 6-4 in Saturday's Wimbledon final by 17-year-old Russian Maria Sharapova, bringing the sisters' era of domination at the All England Club to an end.

"I don't know what happened -- I didn't play great and I didn't win," said Williams, searching for an explanation for her lackluster play. "Perhaps I put too much stress on myself. I wanted to win more than anything."

After the win was an example of the omnipresent teen cell-phone nation. In a scene slightly reminiscent of the annoying person at the next table in a restaurant, Sharapova received a cell phone from her dad to try and call her mother, keeping on hold the crowd and the Duke of Kent as he stood patiently waiting to hand her the Venus Rosewater Dish and a giant check. "Come on technology," said a frustrated Sharapova, explaining that the connection kept shutting off, finally putting down the phone to accept her trophy.

"I hope it doesn't change the person who I am right now," Sharapova said. "I already told a few people, 'If I change, then hit me in the head, please.'"

Among the Russian's accomplishments were her first slam title in her first final; the second-youngest women's champion at Wimbledon in the Open Era at 17 years, 2 months after Martina Hingis, who won the title in 1997 at 16 years, 9 months; the first Russian to win the Wimbledon singles title; and projected to break into the Top 10 for the first time when the WTA Rankings are released on Monday.

"It's amazing, really," Sharapova said. "I'm absolutely speechless. I never, never in my life expected this to happen so fast. And it's always been my dream to come here and to win. But it was never in my mind that I would do it this year."

More amazing was Sharapova complaining of cold symptoms the morning of the final, but still putting up, as the Brits say, a "Brilliant!" performance.

The women's doubles final today will be (6)Black/Stubbs (d. (1)Ruano Pascual/Suarez in three in the semis) against (5)Huber/Sugiyama (d. (3)Navratilova/Raymond).

Because of rain, Navratilova's last Wimbledon match ever was postponed 24 hours, and her final mixed doubles match spanned three days.

"I think it's a lot less emotional this time. Just the way it ended was very anticlimactic," Navratilova said. "It just ended on a definite weird note, to say the least."

Andy Roddick on the 4th of July

In today's men's final, world No. 1 Roger Federer faces No. 2 Andy Roddick, with Club Fed attempting the repeat, and A-Rod contesting his first final at the All England Club.

Federer and Roddick completed their suspended semifinal matches on Saturday, with Fed dispatching Sebastien Grosjean 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(6), and Roddick taming the net-rushing game of Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Last year Federer brushed Roddick aside in straight sets in the semifinals, but A-Rod says he is expecting a different look in 2004.

"That was a year ago," Roddick said. "I don't think it will have too much (effect). It's a different match. What's done is done. I think we've both become better players. We've been through a lot more. We've both played a lot of big matches. Whatever I've been through, he's been through, as well. We've kind of shadowed each other."

Federer leads Roddick 5-1 in their career encounters, with Roddick getting his lone win last year at the Masters Series-Montreal in three sets.

The men's doubles final will be (1)Bjorkman/Woodbridge (d. (7)Arthurs/Hanley in the semis) against (16)Knowle/Zimonjic (d. (5)Knowles/Nestor 6-3 in the fifth).

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Maria "Grunt-o-meter" Sharapova
is the first Russian to ever win Wimbledon, and the second straight Russian Slam winner after Anastasia Myskina at the French Open...Serena had won 20 straight matches at Wimbledon, and now with elder sister Venus, has no Slam titles in last 12 months...Maria Sharapova is also the lowest seed (No. 13) to win Wimbledon, and is now on a 12-match win streak...Andy Roddick and Roger Federer are both on 11-match winning streaks, and Roddick has won 21 of his last 22 on grass, losing only to Federer at Wimbledon in the semis last year...Andy Roddick has won nine of his last 10 tournament finals...Roger Federer is seeking his third Slam crown in his last five tournaments...Serena earned just five games in the final, that's the fewest she has ever won in a Slam loss...Andy Roddick is trying to become the first American to win here since Pete Sampras in 2000...Roger Federer will stay No. 1 regardless of what happens in the final...Serena and Venus are both outside the Top 10 rankings now...This women's final was the first non all-countrywoman Slam final since the 2002 Australian Open (Jennifer Capriati-Martina Hingis)...Highlighting Wimbledon's slowing down of the game was the horrible claycourt-like 34-stroke rally between Andy Roddick and Baby Goran Saturday, that had to have some grasscourt purists shuddering...Andy Roddick yelling at Baby Goran, who wandered the baseline between points during the American's service games: "Can we play at my pace?"...Andy Roddick on what he needs to beat Roger Federer: "He's more flash, feel, artistry. The one advantage I have over him is just hitting the crap out of the ball. I mean, that's pretty much what I'm going to have to do. I'm going to have to try to play to my strengths." In other words, I'm going to Babolat him...Part of Lindsay Davenport's decision to retire is the new generation turn-over: "I look around a locker room with 20 or so people, and maybe 10 of them are Russian. It's not that it's better or worse, only different. I don't have many people I can talk to."...This is the first time since 1982 that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have met in the Wimbledon men's final. In the 1982 final, No. 2 Jimmy Connors defeated No. 1 John McEnroe...Roger Federer and Andy Roddick have been the two most successful players on grass during the last two years. Federer is currently on a 23-match winning streak on grass, while Roddick has won 21 of his last 22 grass court matches, his one loss coming against Federer in last year's Wimbledon semifinals...Roger Federer currently has a 23-match unbeaten streak on grass, tying him for second place all-time with John McEnroe and Pete Sampras, but far short of Bjorn Borg's 41-match streak from Wimbledon 1976 to Wimbledon 1981. Borg's 41 match wins all came at Wimbledon...Roger Federer says he is willing to hit the U.S. talk show circuit, even though English is not his first language: "You know, my English is not as good as Americans or English, so I would have to maybe face tougher questions, I don't know. It would be more difficult to show my humor. But, you know, I think it would also be interesting to see how that feels for a change." That would be a coup for the ATP, you know, getting the No. 1 player in the world on some U.S. talk shows. Oh, wait, Andy Roddick is not No. 1 right now, never mind. We forgot ATP stands for American Tennis Promotion...Roger Federer has won seven straight tour finals, and Andy Roddick nine of last 10. Federer has dropped zero sets in five Slam semifinal and final matches (15-0). Both Roddick and Federer have lost just one set at this Wimbledon, but Federer has lost fewer games (57 to 88). Federer is trying to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win two Slams in one year...Federer has a tour-high five titles on the year. Federer won the 1998 Wimbledon junior title defeating Irakli "Freak Show" Labadze...Pretty amazing that the current women's Wimbledon title-holder is still restricted by the number of tournaments she can play due to the WTA's age-restricting rule, or the "Capriati Rule" as some call it. We opine that in this case you can probably toss that one out the door, probably little danger of Sharapova going for the bong or shoplifting some Skittles or whatever when the munchies hit. Don't completely throw the rule out like WTA CEO Larry Scott wants so that 14-year-old Russian hotties start turning up everywhere playing 50 events a year, but maybe tweak it a bit...Pam Shriver writing for the ESPN website: "There's a brand-new superstar in women's tennis. Maria Sharapova has the game, the presence and the look. What a final!" Our middle school journalism teacher told us to save the exclamation points for passing notes during class. And what is that sexist "and the look" comment? When Anastasia Myskina won the French we didn't read any "Myskina has the game, the presence and...fix that ugly-ass overbite!"...Here's NBC's Tracy Austin blowing her own horn: "I won't say I told you so, but I really did believe that Maria Sharapova was going to beat Serena Williams in the Wimbledon ladie's singles final to win her first Grand Slam title. I wrote in my preview of the match that the 17-year-old Russian is so mentally tough and she's not awed by anyone -- two things she proved in defeating Serena in straight sets. I was commentating on the match with John McEnroe, who thought I was crazy when I called it for Sharapova, but I just had a feeling she could do it." Good for you Tracy...Martina Navratilova lost in the women's doubles semifinals Saturday and will retire with 20 Wimbledon titles, a record she shares with Billie Jean King...According to CNN: "So far, (Maria) Sharapova has only a handful of endorsement deals -- Nike, of course, in a relatively modest deal; Prince, her racketmaker in a five-year deal reportedly worth $750,000; NEC computers, for which she appears in a Japanese commercial; and Speedminton, a combination of tennis, badminton and racquetball."...Serena Williams compares her celebrity to that of Britney Spears: "I can't go anywhere in the world, especially in America. It's crazy. I'm in Italy and I can't go places. I'm in England, I can't walk on the streets. In America, I don't care what state I'm in, it's just like, forget it."...18-year-old Brit Miles Kasiri is through to the Wimbledon boy's final...Former Wimbledon champ Michael Stich writing for The Independent: "Today Wimbledon will stage the best men's final it could possibly have, the two most exciting players in the game facing each other. There is Andy Roddick, the extreme American fun-boy version, and Roger Federer, who is the best tennis player ever, so fluent and stylish. It will be a contrast of styles, too. Even though Roger can play from the baseline he likes to charge the net, while Roddick is someone who stays back...This is a perfect final from the standpoint of names, but tennis-wise I don't see Roddick yet being able to win Wimbledon. He just serves as hard as he can. While, thankfully, that is still what people like to see, I wish he would explore his game a little more with the talent that he has and not just restrict himself to hitting as powerfully as he can."...Greg Rusedski wasn't eligible for Olympic selection because his ranking was outside the Top 48 in the world. He's currently ranked No. 110.