Maria Sharapova: I Have The Utmost Respect For Serena On The Court, But Off It It’s Different
by Tom Gainey | December 17th, 2013, 4:53 pm

In an extensive interview with the NY Times earlier this month, Maria Sharapova updated her fans on the state of her game entering the 2014 season.

Sharapova has been off the tour mending a shoulder injury that forced her out of the US Open. The injury, she revealed to Christopher Clarey, first sprung up during the clay season and prematurely ended her year in August. After months of rest and rehab under the guidance of a new team led by coach Sven Groeneveld, Sharapova is optimistic for 2014.

“I don’t think I would form a new team together and that I would go through the efforts of trying to come back if I didn’t have it,” she told the Times. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of work, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t feel strongly about what my goals are and what I feel I can accomplish.”

If Sharapova wishes to return to the top, that road will likely take her through rival Serena Williams. The two exchanged words in the press during Wimbledon over love interests. Sharapova now dates Grigor Dimitrov who was rumored to be with Serena last year. Serena called Grigor a guy with a “black heart”. Sharapova responded alledging Serena is dating her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, who is married with kids.

Looking back now, Sharapova regrets how it all came out. But she stands by her words.

“The thing is,” Sharapova said at lunch, “I didn’t say anything that was not true, so it’s not like some secret she told me that I gave out to the world. I said something that everyone knew, except no one expected me to say it.”

“On the court, I have the utmost respect for her; I really do,” she said of Williams.

And off the court?

“It’s different,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s different, and to me, even though that tennis is such a huge part of our lives, at the end it’s such a small part of our lives, and I value so many other more important things in life than just the sport.”

“Maybe not; I’ve kept my mouth shut a lot of times in my career, you know, but I’m an open book really,” she said. “The things I say at my press conferences, I don’t lie. I don’t pretend. I respect where respect is due. I speak bad of my game and of myself when I feel I deserve it. I’m very honest.”

Also in terrific Clarey’s story, Sharapova says that having Grigor has been a big help in her return. She also said she and 1-match coach Jimmy Connors are still in touch. She regrets their brief partnership, but insisted because she had the shoulder injury the arrangement with Connors never had a chance.

The 26-year-old Russian is scheduled to official return at Brisbane in two weeks.

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5 Comments for Maria Sharapova: I Have The Utmost Respect For Serena On The Court, But Off It It’s Different

skeezer Says:

““On the court, I have the utmost respect for her; I really do,” she said of Williams.”
Thats right Maria, she owns you, and the rest of the WTA, so give her the full props. Were you ever friends first? She is FIRST a competitor in your field, and despite her misgivings and yours, she is the bestest of tou and the field.
Professional Womens Tennis is a professional sport, not a “like”. Facebook contest, or an off the court social requirement. After all, she doesn’t do candy.
I don’t condone some of Serena’s off court stuff, or on court stuff, but her warrior performance on court cannot be denied. Also, if you know the Williams story and the cultural bias they have withstanded……there actions, although at times seemingly disapproving, are not without understanding.
When she is done with her career, and everone looks back, her records will remain. Maria will be just a blimp on the radar… matter how much candy she will sell.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Maybe thats the whole problem should it not be the other way around,show each other respect off a tennis court after all there is nothing to lose,she probably shows Serena way too much respect on a tennis court,maybe should would be well advised to work on ways to improve her game against Serena rather than promoting those silly sweets or swanning around looking pretty wearing nice outfits and posh jewllerry,and trading insults with the worlds best player is not a good idea as it just fires her up all the more,i didnt agree with what Serena said either but it wasnt actually about Maria it was about Grigor,Maria was the one who decided to make it personal,Serena is smart Maria not so much,as she lets her tennis do the talking pure and simple.

Okiegal Says:

I knew when Serena made the “black heart” comment it would be counter productive…Maria lashed back very quickly!! We mere mortals have the tendency to want to have the last word. It got nasty, which I thought was unfortunate. It’s like I can’t beat you on the court……but I can with words. Personal attacks on a person’s private life……unnecessary. Those remarks can bite back sometimes.

@Chic and @Skeezer

Agree with your posts……..I just wish Maria would stuff her mouth full of candy so she couldn’t scream and also give Vika a bag! Lol. I can put up with grunting…..but screaming incessantly through the points gets to be a bit much imho.

leo Says:

@Chic – Agree with most you say. But read the full transcripts of Serena’s comment and you will see the reference to “a top 5 player”.

Also, Serena, does more than just the tennis do the talking ;-)

Syam Lee Says:

Revisiting old wounds… is that how maria wants to start a new season???

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