On Day 7 at the All-England club, tournament organizers had a choice: Who to put on Centre Court, the #1 woman in the world, and the reigning French Open champion, playing the #15, or the #2 playing the #14.
Apparently, it was a no-brainer. The club thought that Victoria Azarenka, #2, would play a far better match than the #1, so-called “Russian” Maria Sharapova, so Sharapova was relegated to Court 1. It was a painful public humiliation for Russia’s “best” player.
But Wimbledon was wrong. Azarenka blew her opponent off the court in straight sets, with her #14-ranked rival taking just one game. The match involving Sharapova was a bit more competitive, with the straight-set loser claiming seven games instead of just one.
And Sharapova’s match was more dramatic for another reason: The so-called “best” player in the women’s game was the loser. In a match that lasted just 84 minutes, Sharapova saw her serve broken four different times by a player not even ranked in the world’s top 10, and she won barely half of the points on which she got her first serve into play.
And Sharapova didn’t just lose the match and the chance at a grand slam title. She also lost her #1 ranking, after holding it for just one month, the same situation that prevailed the last time she held the top spot. She won’t even hold #2, which will be taken over by the current #3 who reached the Wimbledon finals. Ouch.
Sharapova’s brutal triple humiliation at Wimbledon proves how right we were when we reported that her ascending to the #1 ranking due to recent tournament wins in Rome and Paris was nothing more than the same dumb luck that has characterized her entire career. Sharapova coasted through both of those tournaments never having to face a serious match from a top-ranked opponent. As soon as she faced tough opposition at Wimbledon, she folded up like a house of cards.