If you were wondering about the answer to that question, you got your answer at the Bank of the West WTA tour event in Stanford California last week, the opening event for the hardcourt season. Russian Maria Sharapova, who we call “Shamapova” because of the fraudulent nature of her record, faced off against American Serena Williams.
Despite the vast difference between their ratings, Shamapova had not beaten Williams in seven years, and in their five matches during that time had managed to take a set from Williams only twice. But Shamapova had reason to wonder if Williams could even be competitive since, hobbled by a horrific laceration her foot that left her under the surgery knife twice and inactive for the better part of a year, Williams was extremely rusty and a mere shadow of her former self. Serena was eliminated from Wimbledon this year, for instance, in the round of 16, while Shamapova reached the finals.
But if Shamapova thought so, she received a brutal dose of reality on the court, as indeed did the entire nation of Russia.
Williams mowed through Russians in the tournament like a scythe through wheat. First she destroyed Russian defector Anastasia Rodionova in her opening match, then she whipped world #25 Maria Kirilenko. And then came Shamapova.
But it would be more accurate to state that the American did not really destroy the Russian. Rather, as Shamapova has done with metronomic regularity, the Russian destroyed herself.
Shamapova served seven double faults in her quarterfinals match with Williams and saw her serve broken in five of her eight service games. In a match that lasted just 69 minutes and saw Shamapova win just 4 of 16 games played, the Russian won well less than half of her first-serve points and barely half as many total points as the American. She was emphatically dominated from start to finish in a tournament where she was seeded to reach the finals.
It was Shamapova, in other words, who was not competitive..
Let’s be clear: Despite the fact that neither is currently the top-ranked player in their respective countries, this was a faceoff between the greatest Russian female tennis player who ever lived and the greatest-ever American. No other Russian woman holds three grand slam tennis titles like Sharpova, and all three of Sharapova’s grand slam titles have come against non-Russians. Only one other Russian in history has taken a grand-slam title by beating a non-Russian in the finals, and only one other Russian player has been ranked #1 in the world — a player who has never taken a single grand slam event.
But Shamapova is a pretender outside her native land, and she was once again unmasked when she had to face a true champion. Serena Williams by herself holds more grand slam titles than all Russians who have ever played the game combined, and she has dominated the best-ever Russian over the years just the same way she dominated her on the court in Stanford. Williams is a scintillating personality with a multi-dimensional game and easily worthy of being considered one of the best athletes, male or female, in world history. Shamapova is one-dimensional player with a robotic personality who is best known for her annoying, grating habit of screeching like a banshee each time she strikes the ball.
And most of all, unlike Williams who lives in the country where she was born and raised, Shamapova is a defector. Though calling herself “Russian” Shamapova fled her country as a child and never returned for any length of time. She lives in Florida, where she learned her game from American masters. She is as Russian as apple pie.
Shamapova’s three grand slam titles have come through amazing runs of freak dumb luck. When she defeated Serena at Wimbledon in 2004, she reached the finals only after being saved from humiliating defeat in the semi-finals by a rain delay. Serena then suffered through one of her worst-ever grand slam performances and simply handed Shamapova the match. Since that year, Shamapova hasn’t come close to beating Williams again, and in two subsequent grand-slam meetings the American has emphatically crushed the Russian. In the finals of the Australian Open in 2007, Shamapova received one of the most one-sided poundings in the history of grand-slam tennis.
So let’s get this straight once and for all: Maria Sharapova is all hype, just like her country. Just like Russia, she is a little bit of meaningless bling covering a up a whole lot of nothing, and there’s little chance that is going to change because Russians seem to prefer to live in world of deception and illusion. That’s why, of course, they choose to be ruled by a KGB spy.