Maria Sharapova’s ongoing spat with Eugenie Bouchard took a fresh twist after the Russian hit back at her rival’s recent criticism of her controversial return to the sport.
Sharapova recently made her return to the WTA Tour after a 15-month doping suspension, earning wild card entries to a whole host of events in the weeks since.
Bouchard, however, has been unimpressed at the ease with which the Russian has made her return to the top table of the sport, previously branding Sharapova a “cheater” and suggesting she should have been banned for life.
So when the pair came face-to-face in the second round of the Madrid Open, it was a chance for Bouchard to get one over on the 30-year-old Russian, which she duly did.
The victor in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 epic, Bouchard celebrated wildly at the end of the match but wasn’t content with just doing her talking on the court, taking aim at Sharapova again in her post-match comments.
“I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck, players I don’t normally speak to, getting a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me. So I wanted to do it for myself, but also all these people,” she told reporters after the win.
“It showed me that most people have my opinion, and they were just maybe scared to speak out.”
She wasn’t done there either, subsequently taking to Instagram to post an image of her reaction to securing the match against the Russian.
At first it seemed like Sharapova wouldn’t take the bait.
After the defeat, the Russian insisted she was “way above” responding to the Canadian adding, “My tennis speaks for itself, and that’s what I focus on.”
Or at least, that was how it was at first, until Twitter got involved.
With Sharapova’s autobiography, Unstoppable, set to arrive soon, one tennis-focused account on Twitter decided to mock up a version called Insufferable, featuring Eugenie Bouchard on the cover alongside the words “I wish I was Maria Sharapova.”
— The Drive Volley (@thedrivevolley) May 9, 2017
Then the Russian did the unthinkable – she liked the tweet.
The beef between these two looks set to rumble on and on…
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.