Serena Williams who says she does not have any negative feelings towards Maria Sharapova and is surprised the Russian’s recent autobiography was so much about her as the pair meets in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday in their first match since the 2016 Australian Open, with the contest expected to take place on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Williams described the book as “100% hearsay” and said women should encourage each other rather than detailing locker-room incidents in a less than positive light.

Williams has won their last 18 meetings, with Sharapova’s only two victories coming in 2004.

And it was the first of those – in the Wimbledon final – that Sharapova believes was the catalyst for Williams’ domination since.

“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,” she wrote in her 2017 autobiography ‘Unstoppable: My Life So Far’.

“I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment. But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Williams gave her first response to the book as she faced questions following her straight-set third-round victory over Julia Gorges in Paris.

“I think the book was 100% hearsay, which was a little bit disappointing,” she said.

“I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do.

“I think it’s normal. I think if anything, it shows the passion and the desire and, you know, the will that you have to want to go out there and do the best.

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