Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Sharapova sideswipe at Williams over controversial remarks

June 22, 2013 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
Maria Sharapova has taken a dim view of apparent references to her made by arch-rival Serena Williams.
Maria Sharapova has taken a dim view of apparent references to her made by arch-rival Serena Williams.
  • Maria Sharapova hits out at World No.1 Serena Williams
  • Russian says American should stop courting controversy
  • Irked by apparent reference to her in article in Rolling Stone magazine
  • Elena Vesnina takes Eastbourne title beating Jamie Hampton of United States

(CNN) -- Maria Sharapova took aim at arch-rival Serena Williams Saturday as she told the World No.1 to stick to tennis rather than courting controversy.

Earlier this week, Williams had to apologize for comments she made to Rolling Stone magazine over the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in Ohio.

Eyebrows were also raised in the same article over a passage which appeared to reference Sharapova.

It accused an unnamed player of being "boring" and made unflattering remarks about her choice of boyfriend. Sharapova is dating Bulgarian tennis player Grigo Dimitrov.

Williams wins 2nd French Open title
Serena Williams' rise to greatness
Women's tennis top stars talk personal
The story behind Sharapova's success
Tennis: Li Na upsets Sharapova

Sharapova, the third seed at Wimbledon and bidding for her first title at SW19 since 2004, used the pre-tournament media conference to hit back.

Read: Serena Williams clarifies Steubenville rape comments

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for what we do on the court. I just think she should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that's just getting attention and controversy,' the Russian was quoted by the UK's Press Association.

"If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.

"(She should) talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that's what it should be about."

16-time grand slam winner Williams is reportedly in a relationship with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou, but neither has spoken publicly about it.

She has won three of last four grand slams under his guidance, the latest at the French Open where she beat defending champion Sharapova in a hard-fought final in Paris.

On Tuesday, Williams came under fire, particularly on Twitter and other social media, when her reported remarks to Rolling Stone about the rape were made public on its website.

Read: 16th grand slam for Serena Williams

"She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember? It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different," she was quoted.

The following day, Williams released a statement on her personal website, saying she was "deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written -- what I supposedly said -- is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame," it said.

Sharapova said Williams would do well to steer clear of such issues. "I obviously have many opinions about different things in life," she said.

"But what I do on the court and what I talk about in my press conference is strictly about my career. I'm sure people want to know more, but yet I try to keep my personal life private.

"If I speak to my friends, that's one thing. But I don't go out and try to create things that shouldn't be really talked about."

Meanwhile, in the pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne, Sharapova's compatriot Elena Vesnina took the title, beating Jamie Hampton of the United States in the final.

Simona Halep of Romania also warmed up by taking the title in s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands with a straight sets win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, renowned for his world record marathon match with John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, took his maiden ATP title at the same event.

He beat favorite Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, also in straight sets.


Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.