Maria Sharapova reveals key to crushing Serena Williams in 2004 Wimbledon final

Sharapova was 17 when she ousted Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final for her first Grand Slam.

by Dzevad Mesic
Maria Sharapova reveals key to crushing Serena Williams in 2004 Wimbledon final
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Maria Sharapova acknowledged she felt the pressure of playing against Serena Williams in a Wimbledon final but also added that playing confidently and freely led to her clinching a pretty routine win. In 2004, a 17-year-old Sharapova lifted her first Grand Slam title after ousting Williams 6-1 6-4 in the Wimbledon final.

At the time, Williams was coming off a 6-4 6-3 Miami victory over Sharapova in their first meeting and the American was also bidding to win her seventh Grand Slam at Wimbledon. But Sharapova - who was playing in her first Grand Slam final - delivered a huge performance and lost a total of five games en route to sealing the Wimbledon title.

Sharapova recalls beating Williams for her first Slam at 2004 Wimbledon

"There was so much on the line in that match, one of the biggest reasons was because it was Wimbledon. Actually, I played Serena a few months back at a tournament in Miami and she easily won that match in two sets.

It was a moment itself when I really felt the weight. It was the fact that Wimbledon in my eyes growing up was ‘The Event, The Tournament,’ the place where as a professional you want to end up, you want those French doors to open to Centre Court.

And it did and it just happened to be the final for me. It’s interesting it was one of the first few times in my career as a young girl that I felt what it was like to be in the zone. You know when athletes speak about being in the flow, in the zone, I had that moment in the middle of the tournament, and it was in the fourth round.

It was not that I had that much experience in the Grand Slam tournaments, just two weeks before it was my first time getting into the quarterfinals at the French Open. Even though I lost, it was a huge victory. I found myself in this flow state in the middle of the event playing someone who also should’ve beaten me.

But I won that match so confidently and so routinely. It felt like I was letting go of all the repetitions, I was letting go of any fear that I had. I just allowed the moment and my skill to shine through," Sharapova said on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast.

Later in 2004, Sharapova also beat Williams at the WTA Finals. Stunningly, Sharapova went winless in their next 19 meetings as Williams finished with a 20-2 head-to-head against the Russian.

Maria Sharapova Serena Williams Wimbledon