Maria Sharapova: Serena Williams says failed drug test admission showed ‘courage’

Both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will have to hit the ground running at the US Open 2019. Because Sharapova had been sidelined for most of the year, she enters the draw unseeded. This brings her face-to-face with her old rival. The blockbuster match kicks off the US Open with a bang.

The tournament will be played at Flushing Meadows, New York on August 26-September 8. According to the official draw, the two superstars will be facing each other in the opening round.

Williams and Sharapova have gone head-to-head 21 times in the past. One of their most notable early matches came at the Wimbledon final in 2004. It was considered a massive upset after Sharapova dethroned the two-time defending champion. Sharapova entered the top ten in the WTA rankings for the first time in her career after that victory.

Both women, as we all know, have spent considerable time at the top spot of the rankings since that fateful Wimbledon match. Despite the fact that this is considered to be a heated rivalry, their head-to-head is actually one-sided. According to data provided by Steve G Tennis, Sharapova had only won two out of 21 clashes against Serena. Both of those wins took place way back in 2004.

Regardless of the actual statistics behind their rivalry, both players will be a major draw for the opening day of competition in the Women's Singles draw at the US Open 2019. Fans will be eager to see Sharapova after the Russian's constant absences in many tournaments as of late. She has been plagued by a recurring shoulder injury for months, if not years.

Meanwhile, Williams will be returning to New York with memories of a disastrous final from the previous year. It may be remembered that she lost a very controversial final against Naomi Osaka at the US Open in 2018. She will be eager to put the ghosts of that incident behind her, but it won't be easy, considering the fact that she has been nursing a back injury in recent weeks.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova
Williams and Sharapova after a match Getty