Tennis – Take that, Rog! Why Maria Sharapova thinks Rafael Nadal …

10:24 AM ET

Maria Sharapova knows how to hang a large serve, though she also knows a thing or dual about attack a nerve.

She demonstrated that again a other day during a Italian Open where, after a brief strike with Rafael Nadal on a use court, she posted on Twitter, “Had dual mins on a justice with a GOAT, was so nervous.”

The twitter predictably lighted a amicable media fire fight between fans of Roger Federer and Nadal, whose supporters are about as repugnant toward any other as a fellas themselves are companionable.

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OK, so it was usually one loss, though looking forward to a French Open, Rafael Nadal is that most reduction of a pledge to be holding a winner’s trophy.

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  • So what did Federer do to merit that pointed diss?

    Sharapova has never been one to blurt out things she competence bewail after on a coax of a moment. She likes to control her message, her brand, all that selling baloney. Perhaps she’s still miffed about a approach Federer reacted to her cessation for doping behind in 2016.

    Federer called for “zero tolerance” and told reporters during a Stuttgart tournament: “It doesn’t matter if they did it on purpose or not — we don’t unequivocally see a difference. You need to know what goes into your body, we have to be 100 percent certain of what’s going on, if you’re not, you’re going to be damned.”

    Nadal’s initial reaction, while strong, was after tempered.

    But it’s easy to see another reason Sharapova competence side with a minority in a good GOAT debate. Like Nadal, she has a special place in her heart for a French Open.

    Nadal has enjoyed an astonishing, rather jagged grade of his success on a red clay during Roland Garros. He’s won a pretension a mind-boggling 10 times there, earning a nickname King of Clay. It’s a good honor, highlighting that clay is a singular surface. There’s never been an homogeneous King of Grass, a King of Hard Courts or a King of Carpet, solely maybe in an promotion debate for some home furnishings kingpin.

    Clay also happens to be a aspect on that Sharapova now excels. She’s won a French Open twice as many times as any other Grand Slam, nonetheless those dual titles validate her some-more as a Princess than Queen of Clay. But she underwent an astonishing and jubilant mutation that warranted her a singles pretension in 2012 and 2014. She cherishes those titles, and because not? She hasn’t won any other vital in some-more than a decade.

    It’s been a prolonged approach behind for Sharapova following a 15-month doping cessation that finished final April. She’s won usually one event, a teenager one in Asia (Tianjin) where her top ranked plant was No. 25 Peng Shuai. She’s had to conflict injuries while jolt off a decay and perplexing to conduct a post-suspension challenges. She’s a important 21-10 during a past 52 weeks. Her central WTA ranking of No. 52 is comparatively low, though she’s No. 12 in a some-more of-the-moment UTR ratings.

    This is a honeyed mark of a tennis year for a 31-year-old Russian. As an combined bonus, her nemesis, Serena Williams, a clear maybe for a French Open, might enter a perfectionist eventuality but carrying played a singular contest compare given March. Williams is 19-2 opposite Sharapova, with those waste dating behind to 2004. If Williams ends adult playing, it will give Sharapova her best event in some-more than a decade to blemish out a face-saving win.

    Sharapova is behind in a caring of Thomas Hogstedt, with whom she separate in 2013, shortly after he supervised her mutation into a clay-court Grand Slam champ. But she’s been tormented by inconsistency. In identifying with Nadal, she might be anticipating that his ability to perform during his rise during prolonged durations rubs off on her. It would be a subsequent step in apropos a Queen of Clay.

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