Maria Sharapova’s still bragging about that time she beat Serena Williams in 2004

Natalie Portman attends a photocall for new perfume Dior for Love

Who’s watching the US Open? Yesterday was Day 1, and Maria Sharapova was given a wild card into the draw, her first WC into a slam main draw since her doping suspension. Sharapova hasn’t had a good comeback at all – she’s retired from matches and withdrawn from a few tournaments, and generally the vibe has been that Sharapova lost her edge, her power, her endurance. I wonder if the meldonium really was helping her, eh? Anyway, Sharapove played Simona Halep last night, under the lights, and Sharapova won. I feel sorry for Halep – she’s been so close to the #1 ranking all year, but she can’t quite get there.

Meanwhile, Sharapova covers the latest issue of DuJour Magazine to promote her memoir, Unstoppable, which is out in September. Some excerpts came out a few weeks back, where Sharapova recalled beating Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, and how that, like, altered the course of history and created the Serena-Maria rivalry that lasted more than a decade. What Sharapova rarely cops to is that Serena has owned their rivalry ever since – Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena since 2004, and Serena beat Maria 18 times in a row. Maria details in her memoir how she heard, from a secondary source, that Serena had called her a “little bitch” after Wimbledon in 2004. In this DuJour interview, Maria is once again using that Wimbledon victory as, like, her street cred or something. Some highlights:

Maria and Serena both trained at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
Since Sharapova’s training days, Serena Williams has held an almost mythological status. “[The first time] I watched her at the academy, years of my life rolled by right in front of me,” Sharapova says. Snap to nearly a decade later, Williams and Sharapova were facing off in the 2004 Wimbledon Championships — 17-year-old Sharapova’s first big slam. “Serena was the one who was expected to win the match,” she says. To everyone’s surprise, Sharapova beat Williams 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 – everyone but Sharapova herself, that is. “I was like a silly teenager; if it was there for me to take, why wouldn’t I do everything that I can to take it? And I think from that point on, from that victory that I had against her, our rivalry began.”

Her business sense.
“In a way, the academy in Florida is very much a factory. You have the investors and the kids who produce the work,” Sharapova says. “So I think I understood the business side from a very young age. But in terms of my own success and what it would bring me… I don’t think you can really prepare for that.”

On retirement.
“I never envisioned still competing past 30 years old when I was a young girl. But there are so many years ahead of me and I envision a few more years [of playing],” she says. “Unlike when I was young, I think the mystery and not knowing what will happen is interesting. It’s okay rather than seeming a little scary.”

[From DuJour]

“I think from that point on, from that victory that I had against her, our rivalry began.” Sure. It’s a pretty lopsided rivalry, as I said. Is it really a “rivalry” if your rival has beaten you every time you’ve played her for 12 years? That being said, I think even Serena would admit – or maybe not? – that Maria helped spur her on in those years. Serena was fueled by hatred – hatred of losing, hatred of seeing Sharapova ever beat her again. Then again, you don’t see Serena still talking about that one time she beat one woman 13 years ago, like it’s her calling card to greatness.

Natalie Portman attends a photocall for new perfume Dior for Love

Photos courtesy of DuJour.

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32 Responses to “Maria Sharapova’s still bragging about that time she beat Serena Williams in 2004”

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  1. Goats on the Roof says:

    I mean, if you have to go back in the file to 2004, should you really be bringing that victory up so much? I don’t think so.

    • .... says:

      I’m pretty sure Serena was injured and had just lost her sister at the time.
      Not something I would brag about seeing as in 2004 maria was still doing drugs that she only now got busted for and barely punished.

  2. OG OhDear says:

    It sounds very Al Bundy “I scored four touchdowns in a single game in high school”-esque.

  3. Tasi says:

    Her match against Halep was amazing. It’s early days but it may end up being the match of the tournament.

    • ls_boston says:

      Tasi, agreed. It was a brilliant match. You could sense the tourny rust on Sharapova and i have to confess i didn’t see her winning her first match point. Surprised me when she did.
      Anyhow, while the seedings are what they are, I’m very surprised the draw was set up to have such a high wattage pairing in R1.

    • lana86 says:

      yes im kinda glad she recovered. It’s getting interesting

  4. BlueSky says:

    I remember that time when i was voted most organized in high school!

    • anna222 says:

      I got a swimming trophy in first grade. I’ve never been in a pool with Katie Ledecky but our rivalry is epic.

    • AnnaKist says:

      I won a lovely trophy for Irish dancing when I was 8. Not bad for an Italian…

      “Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena since 2004, and Serena beat Maria 18 times in a row…” And Serena didn’t get busted using banned substances…

      If Sharapova is smart, she’ll use this time while Serena is off to really get back up there near the top, although I have a feeling that if Serena comes back, she’s going to blast Sharapova into oblivion.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I won a pumpkin carving contest in the 4th grade and the Science fair in 10th grade. I am a double threat. There would be no Elon Musk without me hot on his heels pushing him to genius. He kinda owes me a shout out or two.

  5. Nicole says:

    Federer and Nadal are rivals/friends. They play their best against each other consistently for the last 10 years or so.
    This is not a rivalry. This is one player consistently beating the crap out of another on the court. But somehow they are rivals because one player is blonde and aesthetically pleasing. Girl Serena is not checking for you. She won a grand slam pregnant. You’re not in her league

    • Incognita says:

      There is a part of me which believes that Sharapova THINKS she is in the same league as Serena and senses that others are aware that this isn’t the case. As a result, she repeatedly brings up the “That one time at bandcap/Wimbledon” to reinforce the idea that she does deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Serena. Her repeated walks down memory lane reinforces the pathetic, doped-up life she had from 2004 – present.

    • PrincessK says:

      Oh yes it is a rivalry. Even though Serena reigns supreme as Queen of the Court, Sharapova until recently was the richest female athlete, this must have really riled Serena, and she probably loves thrashing her on court. Sharapova was getting more endorsements, although I think that the tide is turning in Serena’s favour now, at last!

  6. Loo says:

    She has to keep bringing up Serena, nobody cares what she has to say otherwise.

  7. rxtsec says:

    It’s a major so yes she should talk about it. and it’s considered a rivalry cause of the success of both of there careers. Also didn’t they fight over the same man back in the day.

    • magnoliarose says:

      How can you be a rival if you haven’t beaten or even been competitive with the other person in over a decade? Uh no. It is a rivalry in her own mind.

  8. Jessica says:

    Sharapova-Serena = Trump-Barack Obama; except Trump will never beat Barack Obama in anything except record low approval ratings.

  9. perplexed says:

    I don’t like her and I’m not a fan at all, but in tennis terms winning a Grand Slam is considered a rarity. Beating Serena is probably just as much of a rarity on the women’s side. In that sense, I do think it makes sense that she would talk about her Wimbledon win in 2004. Wimbledon is considered to be the most prestigious since it’s on grass.

    Serena, who is in a different league from everybody else, has won so many Grand Slams she’s probably made it all seem so easy, but winning a Grand Slam even once really isn’t. For that reason, Sharapova does talk about the time she won Wimbledon. (Although I wouldn’t argue against the reasoning that talking about Serena also brings her press). If I won Wimbledon only once, I’d be proud of that win. In the tennis world, it’s probably not considered strange to talk about it because all of them know how hard it is to win a Slam.

    Of course, the banned substances thing puts a cloud over everything Sharapova does, and that’s what makes people wonder why she’s even a thing anymore. But talking about a Wimbledon win from 13 years ago isn’t strange in and of itself. It’s definitely different than what any of us did in high school.

    • whatever says:

      ^ ITA, she’s bringing out an autobiography in a few days so all recent interviews are a lead up to that. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loathe Sharapova (like you wouldn’t believe) but I won’t hold it against her for talking about a major achievement in her career when she bringing out a book about her life and career.

    • Diana B says:

      The problem is she’s not only talking about winning a grand slam but how beating Serena that ONE time made her her rival somehow. How she’s the arch nemesis of the GOAT (no less) for that sole win when Serena has beat her every time after that. That’s just delusional on her part.

      • Bellagio DuPont says:

        In Sharapovas defence, I would find it strange if she didn’t pay enough lip service to her “rivalry” with Serena… would seem a little disrespectful even, given the outsized role Serena has played in her career.

        The problem is, she equates that with also playing a big part in shaping Serena’s career which is clearly not the case.

      • perplexed says:

        Sharapova is annoying, but the comments in this interview seemed kind of benign compared to the last interview she gave where she seemed to take credit for Serena’s success. Here she was saying she was “a silly teenager” which, well, seemed to make sense. When you’re a teenager you’re not jaded yet to see anything as an obstacle. She seemed to acknowledge that being so young worked in her favour. I think it’s also worked in the favour of other tennis players like Martina Hingis, etc. It’s when they get older they all seem to tank mentally a bit.

  10. Bellagio DuPont says:

    My personal theory as to why Maria has been unable to beat Serena since 2004 is this: I believe Maria is an inferior version of Venus. Around the time Maria started to take tennis very seriously, the “power” game was just starting to take over women’s tennis with Steffi Graf, Lindsey Davenport, Monica Seles and the William sisters emerging as big players. If Maria wanted to be a “power” player and take advantage of her strenght and height, these would have been the players for her to emulate. I strongly believe that at some point, Maria started to model her game closely on Venus’ game, possibly because of their similar heights.

    In any case, I find her game not only similar to Venus’ but a slightly less varied version of it. If this is true, then you can imagine that in playing Maria, Serena has seen every stroke, every lob etc and from similar angles that Venus plays with as well.

    Throw in the fact that Venus is the one person Serena plays most consistently, given they are housemates and doubles partners……. I can see why Serena finds her consistently so easy to dismiss.

  11. Izzy says:

    Girl, you were taking performance enhancing drugs when you beat Serena THAT ONE TIME. Take several seats.

  12. dlc says:

    She really is insufferable.

  13. K says:

    She sounds awful… but I have to admit, if I’d ever beaten a Williams sister at a thumb-wrestle, or hey, even tiddlywinks, it would be something I would cherish. I’d be telling people about it in my twilight care home.

    It’s the rivalry thing that’s making me tilt my head and squint. The seeming belief she’s at some sort of similar level. Not the delight at having, once, achieved the impossible.

  14. molee says:

    I find it absolutely vile how Sharapova continues to profit from presenting herself as a safe-for-supremacists and pleasing-to-the-patriarchy-victim of the greatest of all time Serena Williams. We talk a lot on this site about white privilege, white mediocrity and white feminist complicity and Sharapova has just become my go to example. If her last win was in 2004 and the takeaway was being called a little b*itch, her narrative isn’t about tennis ability. Serena’s biggest challenge is tennis culture and world society at large, and it’s gross how Sharapova offers herself as the other side’s alternative champion.