Paris (AFP) – Maria Sharapova hit back at Serena Williams’s accusations that the Russian’s autobiography was “100 percent hearsay”, insisting Wednesday that controversial references to her arch-rival are accurate.
“When you’re writing an autobiography, I don’t think there is any reason to write anything that’s not true,” said Sharapova after being knocked out of Roland Garros by Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
Sharapova and Williams were due to clash in the fourth round on Monday but the American pulled out at the last minute of their eagerly-awaited grudge match with injury.
It would have been the pair’s 22nd meeting.
The build-up had been overshadowed by Williams’s criticism of Sharapova’s book ‘Unstoppable’ in which the Russian claimed their feud had started after her 2004 Wimbledon breakthrough triumph.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,” Sharapova wrote.
“Not long after I heard Serena told a friend, who then told me, ‘I’ll never lose to that little bitch again’.”
Sharapova insisted that the book contains no inaccuracies and defended her many references to Williams who has not lost to the Russian since 2004.
“I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years,” said the 31-year-old.
“I think there is a lot of autobiographies out in the world, especially in the sporting world, that don’t necessarily speak about whether they were rivals or someone they competed against.
“And I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me. It would be very strange, I think, if I didn’t write anything about her. I think everyone would ask me questions, as well.”
On Wednesday, Sharapova suffered her heaviest defeat at the Slams since her 6-3, 6-0 battering at the hands of Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 Australian Open final.
It was her first quarter-final at the majors since Melbourne in 2016 after which she served a 15-month doping ban.
Despite her first loss to Muguruza in their fourth meeting, committing 27 unforced errors and getting broken six times, Sharapova said she saw signs of hope in her form as she builds towards Wimbledon next month.
It will be her first appearance at the All England Club in three years.
“I think my body will need a little bit of rest, but mentally I’m ready to go,” said five-time major winner Sharapova.
“I think there are a lot of good things like the way my body has handled the long matches that I have played, the back-to-backs.
“Looking at Madrid, Rome, I think that’s always one of the toughest back-to-backs on the calendar, especially on a surface like clay. So to come out of these weeks and feel fairly healthy is a great thing.”