Alla Kudryavtseva humiliated compatriot Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon on Thursday and then laid bare the simmering resentment felt by many Russian players towards their glamorous compatriot.
Kudryavtseva, the world 154, handed Sharapova an embarrassing 6-2, 6-4 second round defeat and then stunned a news conference by revealing how her frosty relationship with the planet’s richest sportswoman inspired her win.
"I don’t know her well. I think I’m quite sure no one on the tour knows Maria well because she’s not a very talkative girl and not very outgoing," Kudryavtseva said.
"But we were in the same team for Fed Cup. After that she started saying hello. That’s nice.
"It’s very pleasant to beat Maria. Why? Well, I don’t like her outfit. Can I put it this way? It’s a little too much of everything. It was one of the motivations to beat her."
The 20-year-old was referring to Sharapova’s widely-publicised Wimbledon tuxedo-style top and shorts, but was actually a thinly-veiled assault on the Florida-based world number two’s relationship with her Russian teammates.
Kudryavtseva, who will face China’s Peng Shuai for a place in the last 16, insisted she didn’t care what Sharapova’s reaction might be to her outburst. "If I’m not afraid to go play her and she’s world No. 3, I’m not afraid she’s going to catch me in the dressing room and say, ‘You know what, you said you don’t like my outfit. You were wrong’. I will say, ‘Sorry. That’s just my opinion’."
Kudryavtseva admitted the win was the best day of her career. "For sure beating her is a big deal for me. The best day of my tennis life? yes," she said.