Maria Sharapova made a special appearance at the 2022 US Open this week and even engaged in a bit of commentary in the ESPN booth. Sharapova also spent some valuable time with tennis legend Billie Jean King, who gifted Sharapova an autographed souvenir for her son Theo.
Sharapova joined another tennis great, Chris Evert, in the ESPN booth, as well as posing for a picture with famous actor Lin Manuel Miranda. She took to Instagram later to post pictures and short videos of her trip to Flushing Meadows.
“Legend. Bringing back Theo a souvenir from the US Open,” Maria Sharapova wrote in her Instagram stories, tagging Billie Jean King.
The souvenir was a small-sized Billie Jean King figurine signed by the American great herself.
The grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center feature a special plaque with King’s famous words – “Pressure is a privilege.” Sharpova posed with King in front of that very plaque and lauded King for inspiring players with that message.
“You taught us well, Billie Jean King,” Sharapova wrote on the same.
The 2006 US Open champion also walked through the players’ tunnel inside Arthur Ashe Stadium along with King. The former Russian tennis superstar gave birth to her and fiance Alexander Gilkes’ son Theo just a couple of months ago. She has been active on social media since then with updates on her recovery post childbirth and recently returning to work.
Ever since her retirement from tennis in 2020, Sharapova has been an active participant in her various business ventures. She owns a brand called Sugarpova, which has become a successful sweets and candy business over the last few years. In 2018, she also launched a program through which she mentors female entrepreneurs.
“Amazing to see Serena’s run” – Maria Sharapova on Serena Williams
Maria Sharapova joined the ESPN commentary booth during the 2022 US Open semifinal between Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur on Thursday. During her appearance, Sharapova spoke about Serena Williams’ farewell run at the US Open this year.
She made an interesting revelation regarding a conversation with her great rival Williams last year, where Sharapova encouraged Williams to make a comeback on the tour.
“We spoke about it at the net last year during this time of year and I said no disrespect to this generation but you are so much better and you need to go out there, so I’m glad that she had a chance here,” Sharapova said on the same.
“It was amazing to see Serena’s run and the glory and the gracious tenacity as she carried through to the end of her career,” she added.
The Sharapova-Williams rivalry was one of the most famed rivalries during the previous two decades. Maria Sharapova won her maiden Grand Slam title as a 17-year-old by stunning Williams to clinch the 2004 Wimbledon title. However, Williams has won 20 of the 22 career matches played between the two players.