Maria Sharapova says she encouraged Serena Williams to come back one last time and go out on her own terms. When Sharapova and Williams met this time a year ago, the American was sidelined for Wimbledon in 2021 while recovering from a foot injury.
This summer, Williams is back for just four events as her career ends at this year’s US Open. “It was amazing to see Serena’s run and her respect and her good endurance until the end of her career,” Sharapova said on ESPN’s Eric Goodries.
“It was amazing to see the run that Serena had at the end of her career and her dignity and the persistence of her grace.” — Maria Sharapova #USOpen — Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) September 8, 2022
Sharapova: I told Williams she’s bigger than this generation.
“Last year, this year, we talked on the network and I said there is no respect for this generation, but you are the best and you need to go there, so I am happy that she has an opportunity here.” Sharapova said.
Last year, this year, we talked on the network and I said there is no respect for this generation, but you are the best and you need to go there, so I am happy that she has a chance here.” – Maria Sharapova on ESPN.
— Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) September 8, 2022
Williams certainly made some noise in her final race. In the first round of the US Open, Williams claimed a straight-sets win over Danka Kovinic. Williams then beat second seed Annette Kontavet.
In the third round, Williams fought extremely hard but lost to Ajala Tomljanovic in three sets. Williams’ former rival Sharapova has announced her retirement in 2020. Sharapova has not enjoyed much success with Williams, winning only two of their 20 meetings.
Interestingly, after the 2004 season, Sharapova went 2-1 head-to-head against Williams. But after that, they lost their next 19 meetings with Williams. Earlier this year, Sharapova’s former coach Michael Joyce reflected on the rivalry between Sharapova and Williams.
“Ultimately, I think Maria had more respect for Serena than any other player,” Joyce said on the Tennis Channel podcast earlier this year. “She never said it, but I feel like Maria was always a shot, no matter what kind of player she was playing.”