Serena Williams' ex-coach suggests Serena-Maria Sharapova wasn't real tennis rivalry

Williams had 20 wins and just two losses against Sharapova.

by Dzevad Mesic
Serena Williams' ex-coach suggests Serena-Maria Sharapova wasn't real tennis rivalry

Coach Rick Macci thought the Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova rivalry "was more like a catfight" as the coach suggested that a real tennis rivalry cannot feature a very one-sided head-to-head. Whenever Williams and Sharapova were about to meet on the court, there was a lot of hype surrounding the match as it was not a secret that the two didn't like each other very much.

But their head-to-head was heavily dominated by Williams, who won 20 and lost two matches against Sharapova. Sharapova beat Williams twice in 2004, before the American won their last 19 meetings. Macci was famously Serena and Venus Williams' childhood coach.

"Maria Sharapova, you know, talk about her rivalry with Serena, and yea you're right. A rivalry should be a back-and-forth thing, and I know it was 20-2 with Serena leading the way. I think Maria, when she came to me at 11, her and Yuri, they had their sights on Venus and Serena, and they talked about it, we talked about it a lot, that was always her goal.

But listen, at the end of the day it was a rivalry simply because maybe it was more like a catfight. Who knows, maybe they didn't like each other for other reasons. Whenever Serena played her, it was a bad matchup for Sharapova because Serena knew she had to be aggressive, she had to bring the confident streetfight.

She had to bring the firepower because Maria would control the points against 95% people on the tour but against Serena, she couldn't and then Maria had to play more defense, and that was a bad matchup. Plus Serena had a serve that could pull out of a jam.

So that became a rivalry not because it was competitive. Maybe they just didn't like each other that much on the pro tour for whatever reason. So, that was kind of interesting," Macci told Sportskeeda.

Sharapova once had a positive head-to-head against Williams

Williams and Sharapova met for the first time at the 2004 Miami Open, when the American claimed a straight-set win over the Russian.

A few months later at Wimbledon, Sharapova defeated Williams in the final to lift her first Grand Slam title at the age of 17. Later that same year, Sharapova defeated Williams at the WTA Finals. By beating Williams at the WTA Finals, Sharapova concluded the 2004 season with a 2-1 head-to-head record against Williams.

Stunningly, Sharapova never again defeated Williams as the American won each of their next 19 meetings. Their last meeting came at the 2019 US Open, when Williams destroyed Sharapova 6-1 6-1. A few months later, Sharapova ended her pro tennis career at the 2020 Australian Open. After last year's US Open, former 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams also put an end to her pro career.

Serena Williams Maria Sharapova