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Beyond the Baseline

Maria Sharapova speaks out about feud with Serena Williams

Maria Sharapova hasn't played since the Western & Souther Open in August. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Henri Bendel) Maria Sharapova hasn't played since the Western & Southern Open in August. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova says she's squashed her feud with Serena Williams, a tiff that made headlines at Wimbledon this year.

"We haven't spoken too much about it," she told The Wall Street Journal in an interview conducted before the U.S. Open in August. "But we did [put it behind us]. We left a lot of what had happened in London."

The beef stems from an interview that Williams gave to Rolling Stone in the spring, in which she appeared to take a veiled dig at Sharapova's relationship with ATP pro Grigor Dimitrov. In response, Sharapova brought up Williams' unconfirmed relationship with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.

“If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova said during her pre-tournament news conference at Wimbledon. “She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about.”

Williams apologized for her comments the next day.

When asked why she came out so forcefully, Sharapova told The Wall Street Journal that it's all part of her personality.

"I've always been tough," Sharapova said. "It's won me a lot in life. I'm not the strongest girl, I'm not the fastest girl on the court, but I've been extremely tough and it's brought me many titles, many victories and many smiles."

When asked why she's been more successful off the court than Williams, who has a far better tennis résumé, the four-time Grand Slam champion said the energy an athlete puts into the business side is simply a choice.

"I think Serena has done an incredible job on the court," Sharapova said. "Her tennis has spoken for itself in the last however many years she's competed. The amount of Grand Slams that she's been able to win, especially at her age now, still competing at the highest level and maybe her best level yet, speaks a lot to what she's accomplished.

"At the end of the day, it is tennis that's brought us all these other things. But I think it's also how you use it and how you want to use it. Not many players have the interest to do other things, which is OK, because if we're good enough at what we do, if we're successful, if we make the right amount of money, some people don't have to. We have the luxury not to. I think it's a choice."

Sharapova hasn't played since since the Western & Southern Open in August because of a shoulder injury. She says her shoulder injury in 2009 made her think seriously about what her life after tennis would look like.

"I've played tennis since I was 4 years old, so the idea of not playing tennis and not having anything to do at all actually scares me," she said.

Sharapova reiterated her plan to go into business after tennis, and as the highest-paid female athlete in the world, she certainly has the chops for it.

You can see the full interview here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=166zeTZGzbg#t=480

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