“The WTA was in trouble,” Serena Williams’ former coach lauds her Russian arch-nemesis Maria Sharapova as the nostalgia kicks in
Rick Macci picks Maria Sharapova over Serena Williams and rest of his pupils for the player that was most focused in training.
Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Rick Macci (Credits: LA Times, Axios, USPTA)
Maria Sharapova is one of the most respected names in the history of the sport. The Russian former World No. 1 is one of the only 10 women to have completed the Career Grand Slam. Having played professionally for 19 years, Sharapova is considered one of the greats.
Sharapova came to the limelight after her 2004 Wimbledon title against Serena Williams at the age of 17. Since then, Sharapova versus Williams was one of the most documented rivalries. The two players went head-to-head numerous times on the court. But their off-the-court behavior against each other also got a lot of interest from fans and the media. This included firing shots at their personal lives and relationships. This also saw Grigor Dimitrov getting dragged between the two women.
The discussion around their rivalry has gone down as the two have shown maturity over the years to respect each other. While the fans continue to debate on their behalf, they might have just received some new point to talk about the two. While Sharapova’s relationship with Dimitrov was tainted by a rumored romantic affair between the Bulgarian and Williams, there is no doubt that the two ladies shared the same coach in the form of the legendary Rick Macci.
Macci recently put out a tweet praising the Russian which certainly put her above the 23-time Grand Slam winner. Having seen and tutored both women from an early age, Macci made a comparison on the mental focus of all his pupils before naming Sharapova as the best.
At age eleven she was most Locked in kid I ever taught. So Focused so Determined and so in a Bubble and with that mental box checked in knew the WTA was in Trouble.tweeted Macci.
Macci was not wrong when he predicted WTA being in trouble. Sharapova would go on to win a total of 36 career titles including 5 Grand Slam victories as well. On the international stage, she brought glory to Russia winning the 2012 Olympic Silver medal. The only sour grape that came with the defeat was Williams winning the Gold medal with the All-England Club hosting one of the most one-sided Olympic finals. Williams needed only 62 minutes to defeat Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 and sweetly avenged her Wimbledon defeat.
Why is Serena Williams considered the biggest obstacle for Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova had a rapid rise on the Tour and quickly became one of the players to watch out for in the draw. By then, Serena Williams had established herself as one of the future greats with consistent performances throughout the season for multiple seasons to the point.
The Wimbledon victory by Sharapova in 2004 was just the second duel between the two. Their third match came in the title decider of the 2004 WTA Finals title which was again clinched by the Russian. But from the WTA Finals in Los Angeles, it was all a Williams show till the retirement of Sharapova.
The American did not lose a single match in their next 17 meetings which included 7 finals, all of which were won by Williams. Williams retired Sharapova with a 20-2 head-to-head record having trailed 1-2 at one point. Following the Wimbledon final, the two met in three more Grand Slam finals (Australian Open 2007, 2015, and French Open 2013) but the American emerged victorious in straight-sets each time.
Had it not been for Williams, Sharapova could have added a lot more titles to her name. But the American supremo did not go easy on any of her rivals, especially Sharapova.
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