“I’m a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been,” Serena told reporters in Madrid. “I’ve always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I’ll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her. So I really just always wish her—and anyone, really, especially from America the best. We don’t have that many American players, so it’s always exciting to see so many young players doing so well.”
A couple of hours after Serena said that, Stephens tweeted: Guilty of being naive. Much respect 4 @serenawilliams , a champ & the GOAT. We spoke, we're good. ONWARD! #lifelessons
When asked about Stephens’ comments, Maria Sharapova said that she isn’t one to hold back her opinions either.
“No, I mean, I don’t really hide any feelings too much,” she said. “I think everyone knows this is my job here. When I’m on the courts or when I’m on the court playing, I’m a competitor and I want to beat every single person whether they’re in the locker room or across the net. So I’m not the one to strike up a conversation about the weather and know that in the next few minutes I have to go and try to win a tennis match. I’m a pretty competitive girl. I say my hellos, but I’m not sending any players flowers as well.
“So it was nice to see that she spoke honestly about it. I think people have different perceptions of different athletes.”