Former Russian tennis player, Maria Sharapova retired from professional tennis in 2020. Despite her retirement, she has often grabbed headlines due to her off-court activities, including various businesses. Recently, she appeared at the New York Fashion Week, where she talked about Venus and Serena Williams’ constant battle to reduce the gender pay gap.

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Notably, during their professional tennis career, both Sharapova and Serena met each other on the tennis court numerous times. During their rivalry, they did not often see eye to eye. However, the Russian praised both Venus and Serena, as they fought for equal pay.

Maria Sharapova praises Venus and Serena Williams for their battle against gender pay gap

During an interview at the New York Fashion Week, Sharapova said, “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?“

In the interview, Sharapova also promised to grow her business and fight for women in business. Notably, in 2007, Venus Williams won the Wimbledon title and fought for equal prize money. Her stubborn attitude forced the Wimbledon organizers to give her equal prize money. Safe to say, it was a historic moment in women’s tennis, as Venus became the first woman to collect equal prize money from the Wimbledon Championships.

In terms of their on-court earnings, Serena Williams earned the most, as she nearly bagged $95 million only from her on-court earnings. As for Venus, she earned more than $42 million in her entire career, which is still going. Meanwhile, the Russian Sharapova earned around $39 million from tennis alone.

Maria Sharapova’s lovely message for Serena after US Open 2022

Earlier, at the US Open, 23-time Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams said goodbye to tennis forever. After that, she received lovely tributes from the fans and many former and current tennis players. Talking about Serena’s great ending at the US Open, Sharapova said, “She deserved that moment. 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,” Sharapova further said.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams

Notably, Serena already announced her farewell before the US Open. So, many fans wanted her to go all the way; however, her run came to an end in the third round at the hands of Ajla Tomljanovic. After that, she became really emotional, and she left the Arthur Ashe Stadium in tears. Meanwhile, Sharapova also showed noble character by praising her rival, Serena, for having an amazing career.

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