To understand the depth of the Sharapova-Williams feud, it’s important to understand that at any given moment, the game of tennis tends to revolve around a single player.
For long stretches in both men’s and women’s tennis, one player has usually become the face of the game.
From 2002 to 2003, when Sharapova was just coming onto the scene, that player was Serena Williams.
However, Sharapova’s 2004 win at the WTA Tour Championships was the last time she won a professional match against Williams.
That’s a huge reason there’s so much interest in her memoir: People want to read Sharapova’s take on 13 years of losses to Williams and find out whether she thinks she’s capable of beating Williams again.
Maria Sharapova is an entertaining tennis player — but more so off the court than on.
When any player displays the kind of dominance that Williams did, they tend to evolve the overall narrative of tennis.
While sportswriters and fans inevitably exalt the player’s dominance and measure them against the greatest players in history, those same sportswriters and fans also exhibit an antsy urge to find the greatest player: the up-and-comer who can challenge — and even beat — the sport’s current leader.