Tennis fans rubbish 'rivalry' between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova

2019 US Open - Day 1

Recently, a debate has ensued over whether there is still a rivalry between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

The discussion began after Williams secured a decisive and emphatic victory over the Russian during the first day of the US Open.

The American dominated the game and won 6-1, 6-1 in a match that lasted just under an hour. The commanding victory led many fans to question if a rivalry still existed between the two greats of the game.

The origins of the rivalry can be traced back to 2004 when Sharapova, in her autobiography, claimed that Williams resented her for "being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon."

Since that match, the pair have engaged in a war of words, commenting on each other's personal lives and partners.

However, an analysis of the accolades won by the two players suggests that there is no longer a rivalry on the court.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles during her extraordinary career, 18 more than Sharapova. The American also has the edge when it comes to career titles, winning 72, twice as many as the 32-year-old.

The head-to-head record between the two is also significantly skewed towards Williams, with the 37-year-old winning 19 of their 21 meetings.

Williams' dominance over Sharapova in every aspect of the game has caused many to dismiss any mention of a rivalry.

Commentators on the supposed rivalry have also been quick to point out that the American has never been suspended for using banned substances, unlike Sharapova.

Sharapova's most recent defeat to the current world number eight has even led to questions over the Russian's future in the sport.

But the five-time Grand Slam winner was quick to dispel talk of her retiring in light of such a heavy defeat, saying: "I don’t think of it as setback or traction.

"I have to keep going. There’s no other way. There’s no easy road about it. I can phrase it in so many different ways and terms, but I still have to go out and I have to do it."

The former world number one continued: "Bottom line is I believe in my ability. You can write me off. There are many people that can write me off, especially after going down 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the US Open. ‘As long as it’s not the person that’s inside of you, you’ll be okay."

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