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Maria Sharapova Comments on Serena Williams’ Final US Open Performance & Venus Williams’ Long Fight for Equal Pay

Maria Sharapova has been retired from tennis since 2020, but that doesn’t mean she totally out of the game. Last week during New York Fashion Week, the athlete and entrepreneur sat down with fashion journalist Laura Brown, as part of the Glam Slam event series, the joint venture between IMG and Spring Studios in partnership with Chase Sapphire, to talk about the sport and style.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Maria Sharapova and Laura Brown attend GLAM SLAM Presented by NYFW: The Shows and Chase Sapphire Session 2: Tennis Legends x Fashion Icons during NYFW: The Shows 2022 at Spring Studios on September 09, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG)
Maria Sharapova and Laura Brown attend GLAM SLAM Presented by NYFW.
CREDIT: Getty Images for IMG

There, Sharapova spoke about rising tennis stars Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff, as well as the Williams sisters.

Sharapova and Serena Williams have had a long and compelling history as competitors, with Serena taking an 18-2 record against Sharapova throughout their careers.

“She deserved that moment,” Sharapova told Brown onstage about Serena’s final US Open match that took place earlier this month. “To see her shine and to see her perform. Watching her match at Wimbledon and losing early, I think that was actually the best gift because she wanted to come out much stronger than how she played at Wimbledon. So to see her elevate her game and compete and go out fighting, which she has done throughout her whole life with that grit and grace, was spectacular.”

During the event, Brown and Sharapova also discussed inequity in women’s sports — something the tennis star faced firsthand.

“I’ve seen it from the sidelines being a woman in a sport that didn’t have equal pay, that didn’t have equal rights… I witnessed Venus Williams fighting for equal prize money at every single one of her press conferences, every single one. You know how challenging but brave of her to show up and do that is?” she said.

Since then, Venus has been been an ardent advocate for change when it comes to raising awareness about the gender pay gap. And like Venus, Sharapova is also using her power and platform to support women.

“I want to grow into my business and invest in people and companies that I believe in, particularly in women. As we know, that is a space that is very challenged at the moment and not supported as much as it needs to be. So to always fight for that [in my sport], I feel like now that fight has transitioned into business for me.”

Outside of tennis, she has multiple business ventures and is an investor in companies such as Bala, Therabody, Supergoop and more. Last year, Sharapova invested equity stake in investment platform Public.com to help level the investing playing field for everyone, especially young women, and empower and bring more women into the public markets for the first time.

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