The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 24, 2013

Wimbledon spat

(Continued)

LONDON —

By the sound of things Sunday, she might be pleased to be able to focus on tennis rather than talking.

“There’s one thing I’m really good at,” said the 31-year-old Williams, the oldest woman to top the WTA rankings, “and that’s hitting the ball over a net, in a box. I’m excellent.”

Certainly true. She won her 16th Grand Slam title by beating Sharapova two weeks ago at the French Open, and declared Sunday, “It’s great for women’s tennis when we play each other.” (That might be because Williams has won their past 13 matches.)

Williams is 74-3 overall and has collected three of the past four major titles since the start of Wimbledon in 2012. That, perhaps not coincidentally, is when she began working with French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou, to whom Williams has been linked romantically.

Neither has confirmed publicly whether they’re a couple, but Sharapova’s shot on Saturday was taken as a reference to Williams and Mouratoglou. Sharapova was responding to a question about the portion of the Rolling Stone story in which Williams spoke to her sister about what the reporter described as “a top-five player who is now in love.”

Williams lamented Sunday that “a private conversation” was reported about, but she also broke into peals of laughter when saying: “I’ve been in the business for a little over 200 years, so I should definitely, definitely know better. I should know better to always have my guard up.”

She is quoted in the article as saying: “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.”

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