Serena Williams tried to defuse her war of words with Maria Sharapova on Sunday as the Wimbledon champion claimed she had apologised to the Russian for criticising her private life. Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, infuriated Sharapova by making a thinly-veiled reference to the world number three’s relationship with Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov, believed to be Serena’s former boyfriend, during a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’ -- it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it,” Serena was quoted as saying. Sharapova was so upset by Serena’s comments that she hit back on Saturday by drawing attention to the American’s romance with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou. “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova said. Sharapova also claimed she was “sad” that Williams made controversial comments in the same article regarding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in the Ohio town of Steubenville. But Serena, who starts her Wimbledon title defence against Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella on Tuesday, refused to escalate the row with her rival on the eve of the grass-court Grand Slam.