Tennis coach Gabe Jaramillo revealed a young Maria Sharapova was constantly trying to find ways to beat Serena Williams. Sharapova, a tennis legend and icon, made one of her first tennis steps at the renowned Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida.
When a nine-year-old Sharapova arrived to the academy, Jaramillo was the tennis director. “It was almost an obsession,” Jaramillo told Punto de Break, as quoted on Sportskeeda. “We were at the academy, she hit a ball and I told her: ‘Very good!’
But she answered me: ‘No, well no, with that ball I don’t beat Serena’ Every move she made, she thought of Serena, so you can see how these players think, with their minds set five years ahead.”
Sharapova defeated Williams to win her first Grand Slam
Sharapova was 17 when she defeated Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final to win her first Grand Slam title.
Later that year, Sharapova defeated Williams in the WTA Finals final. Sharapova and Williams met three times in 2004 and the Russian had a 2-1 head-to-head over the American after the 2004 season. Then, Williams went on to win their next 19 meetings.
“I remember when she was 14 years old I saw her lose in the Orange Bowl against Bartoli, who planted the serve on the service line the entire game, without backing down,” Jaramillo continued. “She lost 6-0 and 6-0, that was in December.
When January arrived, we met at the first training session and I told her to practice serving, so that the same thing doesn’t happen to us again. “She remained serious and answered: ‘I’m not training to play against Bartoli, that doesn’t matter to me.
I’m training to play against Serena Williams’ At the time Serena was already No. 1. Imagine when she won the Wimbledon final at 17 years old, she had been playing that match in her head for at least five years.”