Looks like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova's friendly reunion at the Met Gala wasn't just for the cameras.
Tennis fans were left stunned to see Williams and Sharapova mingling and posing for a photo together in New York on Monday considering their well-documented feud on and off the court.
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Sharapova once famously said she and Williams would "never be friends" as details of their fractured relationship were made public.
So fans were gobsmacked to see the pair putting on a friendly display at the Met Gala, sharing a photo they'd taken together on their social media accounts.
However a new photo has since emerged that appears to show their display was genuine and not just for the cameras.
Spotted in the background of a selfie taken by Brazilian pop star Anitta and American rapper Saweetie in the bathrooms at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is none other than Williams and Sharapova.
Williams can be seen smiling as she chats to Sharapova, putting to bed any lingering doubts that their infamous feud might be over.
Fans and commentators flocked to social media to comment on Williams and Sharapova's apparent reunion.
— Max Gao • 高俊鹏 • #TIFF21 (@MaxJGao) September 14, 2021
Peace in our time. You won't see this often (ever) - the Williams sisters laughing it up with Maria Sharapova at the #MetGala. (Serena and Maria are famously whatever the opposite of friends is.) https://t.co/TUAqWazSAo
— Neil McMahon (@NeilMcMahon) September 14, 2021
— Latifat Adebayo Ohio (@Phatill) September 14, 2021
Serena Williams' famous feud with Maria Sharapova
Sharapova and Williams had a very frosty relationship during the 16 years in which they both played on the WTA tour, with Sharapova infamously saying they’d ‘never be friends’ in 2017.
“Serena and I should be friends: we love the same thing, we have the same passion,” Sharapova said.
“But we are not friends - not at all. I think, to some extent, we have driven each other.
“Maybe that’s better than being friends. Maybe that’s what it takes to fire up the proper fury … Someday, when all this is in our past, maybe we’ll become friends. Or not.”
Williams and Sharapova met 22 times on the court, with Williams winning 20 of those matches - a 90.9 winning percentage for the American.
In her 2016 memoir, Sharapova wrote fairly extensively about her opponent, admitting that at the 2002 Wimbledon champions ball her “body just would not let me” stand to salute that year’s winner, even as the rest of the room welcomed Williams, who had just won the singles title over sister Venus, with an ovation.
Somewhat bizarrely, Serena shows up on the second page of the prologue in Sharapova’s memoir.
“Serena Williams has marked the heights and limits of my career,” Sharapova wrote.
“Our stories are intertwined. I approach every match against her with trepidation and respect … I’ve beaten all the players who have beaten Serena, but it’s been nearly impossible for me to beat Serena herself.”
According to Sharapova, in the locker room after her win against Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, Serena collapsed into “guttural, heaving sobs.”
“It went on and on. I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there,” she wrote.
“People often wonder why I have had so much trouble beating Serena; she’s owned me in the past ten years. My record against her is 2-19.
“In analysing this, people talk about Serena’s strength, her serve and confidence, how her particular game matches up to my particular game, and, sure there is truth to all of that; but, to me, the real answer was there, in this locker room, where I was changing and she was bawling.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon.
“But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.
“Not long after the tournament, I heard that Serena told a friend, who then told me, ‘I will never lose to that little b*tch again.”
Williams has gone on to win 17 more grand slams since that loss in 2004, taking her record tally to 23.
Sharapova won just four more before retiring in 2020, losing to Williams in three other grand slam finals.
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