At a press conference following her third-round victory over 11th-seeded Julia Goerges, Serena Williams was hit was a barrage of questions concerning her fourth-round opponent Maria Sharapova. The Russian star who was banned from tennis for 15 months for drug-use wrote extensively about Williams in her book, Unstoppable: My Life So Far.”
But is was the questioning from an American reporter, Bill Simons, publisher of Inside Tennis, which raised many eyebrows:
While Williams responded with grace, the question was vilified on social media Jeff Donaldson @jddtennis who the social media coordinator at Tennis Canada wrote, “I have never physically cringed as hard as when I read this in Serena’s transcript. Wow.” ESPN’s Jemele Hill, columnists for Undefeated, wrote, “Mannnn …. Serena should have done the LeBron walk out on this question.”
Williams, who has beaten Sharapova 19-of-21 matches in head-to-head competition, is taking the high road regarding their so-called rivalry, which is broken down in this Vox story.
“I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up,” said Williams, who is one Grand Slam away from tying Margaret Court for all-time victories. “A lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it’s not true. If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that a thousand times. So for me, I always get inspired by other women that are doing well.”
The last time Williams faced Sharapova was in the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinals, in which Williams beat her for the 18th straight time. Will tomorrow be 19?