So they interviewed Baltacha about her thoughts on Heather vs. Maria and damn she revealed some fierce stuff about their meeting in Memphis
Elena Baltacha, Watson's mentor as Britain's experienced No1, plays the American wild card Jamie Hampton on Wednesday and had a mixed time of it in Dallas last week. Burdened by serial disappointment in her career and hips that take half an hour to warm up every morning, the world No61 deals only in facts.
"It will be great for her," Baltacha said on Sunday night, "but, where she is at the moment, it would have been good for her to play her maybe in the second round at least. But it's good. She's young. You go into a match [like this] believing that you can win. You have to, especially against someone like Sharapova, because you know that she'll want to beat you love and love."
Baltacha painted a revealing picture of Sharapova, the enigmatic world No4 adored as much for her beauty as her withering forehand. On court, Sharapova is a cold-eyed killer. On the circuit, she is aloof.
"I've spoken to her," said the Ukrainian-born Baltacha, whose Russian remains valid. "I've seen her around. But she doesn't speak to many players. She does her own thing. She doesn't come into contact a lot with anyone. Everyone's shocked when she comes into the locker room, because you hardly ever see her.
"I drew her in Memphis [in the quarter-finals last year] and spoke to two or three of the girls she had played in the previous rounds. She blew them away love and one and, even then, she was annoyed that it wasn't love and love. They were having a joke in the changing room: 'She won't even give you a ball to hit in the warm‑up.' And she didn't. The first ball she hit, like, a million miles an hour. It was hilarious. I went into the first point and had not hit a ball. I'd had no warm-up, apart from serves.
"With someone like that, you have to give them no respect. You have to go in there and play your game and if it's not working, change it – but you've got to keep believing because if you're, like, 'Well, I'm going to go out and I'm going to lose,' what's the point?
"What was funny was that she didn't know I spoke Russian. So when I started shouting :'Come on' and talking in Russian she went: 'All right, OK.' Next point she hit this unbelievable drive volley – and that was it, off she went. The Russian curses came out. She didn't like it and I knew she didn't like it. [At the end] the handshake was comical. It was so good. It was perfect. Obviously she never said anything, but hopefully she thought: 'Actually, I've got to give it to her. Not a lot of people would do that.'"