Saturday 24 February 2018

'If I was British, a semi-final would be incredible' - Maria Sharapova has pop at media

Serena Williams celebrates victory over Maria Sharapova to reach the final
Serena Williams celebrates victory over Maria Sharapova to reach the final

Maria Sharapova left Wimbledon with a parting shot at the assembled media yesterday following her semi-final defeat against old rival Serena Williams.

Williams extended tennis' most one-sided rivalry with her 17th consecutive victory over Sharapova to reach her eighth Wimbledon final.

Australian and French Open champion Williams moved ever closer to the calendar grand slam by storming past Sharapova 6-2 6-4 - some 11 years after losing to her biggest foe in tennis in the final at SW19.

Asked if she was pleased at least to make a Wimbledon semi-final, Sharapova replied: “Maybe if I was British, a semi-final would be incredible.

"I’d be on the front page of the paper. But I expect myself to be a champion of these events, and it’s disappointing to come out as a loser because I know my level can be at the point of holding these championship trophies.”

Read more: Video: David Beckham takes centre stage on Centre Court as he manages to catch ball

Maria Sharapova reacts during her match against Serena Williams
Maria Sharapova reacts during her match against Serena Williams

It wasn't just the media who irked Sharapova however.

She gave short shrift to British Prime Minister David Cameron's joke that England's women's footballers would need "earplugs" to cope with the grunting during her clash with Serena.

England's footballers headed straight to Wimbledon after attending a Downing Street reception to celebrate their third-place finish at the Women's World Cup.

Mr Cameron told the England stars on leaving Number 10 "take your earplugs, they're quite loud", referring to Sharapova and Williams' on-court grunting.

When asked for her thoughts on Mr Cameron's joke, Sharapova replied: "Next question please."

World number one Williams booked her eighth Wimbledon final appearance, where she will play Spain's Garbine Muguruza, with a routine victory over Sharapova.

Defeated 28-year-old Russian Sharapova had also refused to address questions over her high-pitched screaming after a three-set quarter-final win over America's Coco Vandeweghe.

Belarus' former world number one Victoria Azarenka was far more outspoken on Tuesday after slipping to defeat to close friend Williams.

The 25-year-old hit out at sections of Wimbledon's Centre Court crowd for laughing as she and Williams both grunted loudly throughout their quarter-final battle.

"It's so annoying because guys grunt," said Azarenka on Tuesday. "I was practising next to (Rafael) Nadal, and he grunts louder than me, and nobody notices that, why? I don't understand why.

"Both women on the court were trying their hardest and giving everything, and they make noises. Is that a problem for tennis? It happens in every sport.

"So I think maybe it's time to just put it aside and not talk about it all the time because this is not what is important when there are two players on the Centre Court."

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