I’ll be popping this one on the office telly.
UPDATE – SERENA WILLIAMS HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE MATCH.
What a bummer.
Here’s the BBC:
Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open before her fourth-round match with Maria Sharapova.
The 36-year-old will explain the reason for her withdrawal in a news conference, with a suggestion that she has an arm injury.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner recently returned to tennis after giving birth to her first child.
She looked in good form in her opening matches, dropping only one set en route to the last 16.
And USA Today:
French TV first reported the stunning news that WIlliams would pull out of the match because of an arm injury. Williams said at a news conference Monday that she’s unable to serve because of a pectoral problem.
Damn pecs. Well, there goes that match down the crapper.
And here’s what I had written earlier in anticipation of a spicy encounter:
I wish I could tell you that the match you need to watch is Marco Trungelliti, the Argentine tennis player who made headlines for that road trip with his grandma, but his French Open run has come to an end.
Just making the tournament was an accomplishment for Marco, but the same cannot be said for Serena Williams.
Arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, and labelled “the greatest sportsperson ever” by some, Serena is once again vanquishing anyone who crosses her path.
Her opponent in the round of 16 is a familiar foe, and one with whom she has a very checkered past. Yes, we’re all looking forward to the mouthwatering clash between Serena and Maria Sharapova, because this one comes with plenty of added spice.
It’s scheduled to kick off at 2:15PM South African time, although that depends on other matches finishing on time.
Best to tune in early, though, as you wouldn’t want to miss the pre-match hugs and kisses.
NewsAU with some of the backstory:
Sharapova, who Williams has beaten 18 times in a row, claimed in her recent memoir Unstoppable that Serena “hated” her for hearing her cry after the 2004 Wimbledon final.
The pair’s fourth-round match at Roland Garros will be the first time the two have faced off since the American’s win in the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals — Sharapova’s last match before serving a 15-month doping ban.
“I think the book was 100 per cent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing,” said Williams after her 6-3 6-4 third-round win over Julia Goerges.
“I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it’s normal.
“It’s a Wimbledon final, you know. So it’s just, like, I think it would be more shocking if I wasn’t in tears.”
It’s clear that Sharapova couldn’t handle living in Williams’ shadow. Their career record stands at 19 wins for Serena and two wins for Maria, so it’s less a rivalry and more a one-sided humbling, but the Russian just can’t let it go.
Williams was shocked to find out how significant a role she played in Sharapova’s life and career and was upset she was portrayed as disliking the Russian, which she claims isn’t close to the truth.
“The book was a lot about me. I was surprised about that, to be honest. You know, I was, like, ‘Oh, OK.’ I didn’t expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn’t necessarily true,” she said.
“I didn’t know she looked up to me that much or was so involved in my career.
“I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book.
“Especially having a daughter, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.
“A lot of people always assume that I feel a different way and it’s not true.
“If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that 1000 times.”
She wears a catsuit, and she has no time for Maria’s bullshit.
Here’s what the Russian had to say:
“Well, it’s been a while,” Sharapova said, “and I think a lot has happened in our lives for the both of us, in very different ways.”
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