Tonight, Serena Williams will play Maria Sharapova in the fourth round of the French Open.
While Williams has won the last 18 times she’s played Sharapova, she has lost to the Russian twice – most memorably, in the final of Wimbledon in 2004.
So when the press had the opportunity to speak to Williams on Sunday ahead of her much-anticipated match, it was this loss they decided to focus on. More specifically, one of the theories behind the loss.
Apparently, Donald Trump had his own explanation for why Sharapova went home with the Wimbledon title in 2004. On a golf course 14 years ago, the now President of the United States said Sharapova’s “alluring shoulders” and “supermodel good looks” were probably intimidating to Williams, affecting her ability to win.
Most of us would have hoped that these comments, along with most of the things Donald Trump says, would have died a slow, silent death by now, but a very serious journalist thought it was necessary to ask Williams to comment on the theory.
"I have been waiting about 14 years to ask you this question," asked the reporter, clearly excited about his deeply thoughtful but also relevant question.
"After the 2004 Wimbledon match with Maria, I had the opportunity to interview Donald Trump on his LA golf course, and he said that Maria's shoulders were incredibly alluring and then he came up with this incredible analysis: That you were intimated by her supermodel good looks.
"My question is: Have you ever been intimidated by anyone on a tennis court, and what are your thoughts about that occurrence?"
Williams simply responded, "I honestly don't have any thoughts about that."
"I can't say I have been intimidated by anyone.
"That's all. That's it."
I have never physically cringed as hard as when I read this in Serena’s transcript. Wow. pic.twitter.com/60wnSWG6En
— Jeff Donaldson (@jddtennis) June 2, 2018
During the same press conference, Williams was asked to comment on Sharapova's claims about their long-running feud.
In the Russian tennis star's 2017 memoir Unstoppable: My Life So Far, she wrote, "Serena Williams has marked the heights and the limits of my career.
"It was Serena whom I beat in the Wimbledon final to emerge on the international stage at seventeen, and it’s Serena who’s given me the hardest time since."
Williams, however, dismissed the memoir's contents as "hearsay," adding that it was "a little bit disappointing".
Sharapova wrote that the rivalry started when she first beat the American in the 2004 Wimbledon final at 17 years old.
Although things remained civil on the court after the match, according to Sharapova, the mood quickly changed behind the scenes in the locker room.
"When the match was over, Serena hugged me. She said something like ‘good job’ and smiled. But she could not have been smiling on the inside," she wrote.
But when Sharapova later entered the locker room, she was met with the sound of Williams’ “guttural sobs”.
"I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there," Sharapova wrote.
"Not long after the tournament, I heard Serena told a friend – who then told me – 'I will never lose to that little bitch again', Sharapova added.
She then wrote, "I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon."
Tonight will certainly be an interesting match.