Sharapova hits back at Williams
MARIA Sharapova has been forced to defend aspects of her autobiography as the Russian comes to term with shattering French Open defeat.
The former world No.1 used a post-match media conference following a 6-2 6-1 quarter-final hammering from Garbine Muguruza to address Serena Williams' claims parts of her book Unstoppable: My Life So Far were misleading.
Williams, who shares a mutual antipathy with Sharapova, said passages of the book about her were "100 per cent hearsay", further fuelling the pair's animosity.
Sharapova hit back in the wake of Roland Garros elimination.
"Well, I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years," she said, responding to Williams' barb that she was surprised to feature so frequently in the book.
"I think there are a lot of autobiographies out in the world, especially in the sporting world, that don't necessarily speak about whether they were rivals or someone they competed against.
"And I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me.
"It would be very strange, I think, if I didn't write anything about her. I think everyone would ask me questions, as well.
"When you're writing an autobiography, I don't think there is any reason to write anything that's not true."
Contesting her first French Open since failing a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open, 31-year-old Sharapova said it was now time to be realistic.
"Of course I expect certain things for myself, being in good positions throughout my career and putting myself [at] No.1," she said.
"You know what that feels like and you always have that as a target, there's no doubt.
"But I'm also very realistic and looking back at where I started (No) 40-50 in the world, I don't know what I'll be after this event.
"So I guess it's nice counting those numbers getting somewhat of a reward for the efforts, whether they are small or large.
"But you have to take it. You have to appreciate that."
Sharapova will climb to No 23 next week, having started the tournament seven places lower.
"Coming into this part of the year, I was losing a few first-round matches, matches that I wanted to be winning, of course," Sharapova said.
"But to have had the victories that I have had, to have the results that I have, obviously moving a step in the right direction. But today was certainly not one of those steps."
The 70-minute defeat was Sharapova's heaviest in Paris since a 6-0 6-2 flogging at the hands of Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in the 2009 quarter-finals.
The five-time major winner's serving was terrible. She double-faulted three times in the opening game of the match to gift Muguruza the initiative.
She landed just 54 per cent of first serves and won only five points - 26 per cent - on her second serve.
Muguruza will square off with Simona Halep for the world No.1 ranking when they clash in the semis.
Halep outlasted German Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-2 in a reprise of the pair's epic Australian Open semi-final.
Halep currently leads Caroline Wozniacki, who was eliminated in the quarters, by just five rankings points.
Muguruza is third, 200 points adrift.
But if the Spaniard beats Halep in the semis, the No.1 crown will change hands.
"After the first set I just stayed strong, I did not give up at all," Halep said.
"I missed a lot at the beginning of the match. I tried to do too much. Then I changed a little bit of tactics and it worked."