Bound at the top of the game by an obvious mutual antipathy are Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, who face each other in a highly-charged semi-final at Wimbledon today.Williams, 33, is the more physically powerful, with a ferocious temper and the mindset of a battling champion.Sharapova hates standing on court lines, and will hop over them between points.She also has a serving routine which involves brushing her hair from her face and then bouncing the ball twice, slowly.
Since then she has only beaten her on one other occasion.Sports writer David Nicholson told me: ‘The decision to live in Florida had an impact on her phenomenal ability to earn. Add that to her model looks and she is able to use her media-friendly exterior to further her commercial agenda.Nigel Currie, of Brand Rapport, a sports marketing agency, added: ‘She is what women’s tennis was waiting for. There are not that many female stars in world sport who can come close to her.’Consummate athletes both may be, but each is prey to peculiar superstitions.After their last meeting, through evidently gritted teeth, Sharapova said: ‘I love every time that I step on the court against her because she’s the best. I’m proud to play in the same era as her.’Like many tennis players, Sharapova distances herself from others when on tour.‘The locker room is my least favourite place in the world,’ she has said.They also have fathers who were omnipresent in their early years, exercising enormous control.