Serena: I apologized to Maria over Rolling Stone article
October 7, 2013 -- Updated 2017 GMT (0417 HKT)
Serena Williams addresses the media ahead of the start of the Wimbledon Championships.
- Serena Williams reacts to Maria Sharapova's stinging attack
- World No.1 says she apologized to the Russian earlier this week
- Williams opens Wimbledon title defense against Mandy Minella
(CNN) -- Serena Williams refused to get drawn into a pre-Wimbledon war of words with Maria Sharapova Sunday -- claiming she had apologized to her Russian rival for comments made about her personal life.
Sharapova used her press conference Saturday to lambast Williams over an article which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine.
It included a veiled reference to Sharapova's relationship with Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov and also contained a controversial passage about the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in Ohio.
Williams wins 2nd French Open title
Serena Williams' rise to greatness
How do you beat Serena Williams?
The story behind Sharapova's success
Maria Sharapova's greatest hits
Read: Sharapova sideswipe at Serena
"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," Sharapova told reporters.
The 31-year-old American is romantically linked with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Sharapova also questioned the wisdom of the World No.1's comments on the rape, for which Williams was later forced to apologize, saying she found them "sad.".
But Williams, who opens her Wimbledon title defense against Luxembourg's Mandy Minella Tuesday, said she had reached out an olive branch to Sharapova at the WTA players' party in London last week.
"I feel like Maria, unfortunately, was inadvertently brought into a situation she should have never been brought into," Serena said.
Read: Serena Williams clarifies comments over rape
"I personally talked to Maria at the player party. I said; 'Look, I want to personally apologize to you if you are offended by being brought into my situation. I want to take this moment to just pour myself, be open, say I'm very sorry for this whole situation'."
Despite a grilling from the media, Williams refused to get drawn into a row over Sharapova's stinging attack, while repeatedly apologizing for the Rolling Stone article.
"It definitely hasn't been easy. And I feel like I really wanted to say, I apologize for everything that was said in that article," she said.
She also conceded the controversy may be a distraction as she bids for a sixth Wimbledon title and 17th grand slam crown.
Her 16th came when she beat Sharapova for the 13th straight time in beating the defending champion at the French Open.
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
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 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)
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.
Today's five most popular stories