Serena Williams repeats Maria Sharapova apology
Serena Williams thought she had put the lid on the prospect of a Wimbledon feud with Maria Sharapova when they held face-to-face talks at the pre-tournament party.
But Williams has felt driven to publicly repeat an apology she says was first given to the Russian and attempted to defuse their sparky conflict, which became apparent after Sharapova, still incensed by words from the world number one in a magazine article, returned fire.
Williams, in a Rolling Stone magazine feature, was quoted as taking a swipe at a rival player while in conversation with sister Venus. Sharapova believed Williams was talking about her, as the article's author speculated.
In the American magazine, Williams said of the unnamed player: "She begins every interview with 'I'm so happy. I'm so lucky' – it's so boring. She's still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it."
The latter reference has been widely taken to be aimed at Grigor Dimitrov, the Bulgarian player who is dating Sharapova and had previously been close to Williams.
Williams is now said to be an item with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou, and the nature of that relationship came under scrutiny over the weekend both in Sharapova's Press conference at Wimbledon and when defending champion Williams spoke.
Williams did not confirm they are a couple, and gave assured if not revealing responses to a range of questions surrounding her comments that may have alluded to Sharapova.
It was revealed the two most celebrated players in women's tennis discussed the Rolling Stone article when attending Thursday night's WTA Tour party in Kensington.
"I made it a point to reach out to Maria. She was inadvertently brought into the situation by assumptions made by the (Rolling Stone) reporter," Williams said.
"I personally talked to Maria. I said, 'Look, I want to personally apologise to you."
Sharapova hit back and said that if Williams wished to speak of personal issues, "maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids.
This comment was widely seen as a reference to Mouratoglou.