After hearing it for the umpteenth time, it got me thinking: When did she say it? Was it after a win or a loss? Was the comment widely reported at the time?
A quick news database search later and the questions were answered.
Sharapova made the comment after winning a second-round match against Jill Craybas, 6-2, 6-1 at the French Open in 2007. The Russian had two Grand Slams at the time but had never advanced past the quarters at Roland Garros.
She was asked to describe her play after the match:
"[My shoulder pain] is still there at times. For one week I couldn't do anything. I couldn't really move my shoulder up and down because there was a significant amount of pain.
A cow on ice after winning two and one? What would she have called herself if she won, say, five and five? A rhinoceros?
In spite of the beatdown, Craybas agreed that Sharapova wasn't playing well and made a point about Sharapova's game that could still apply today:
"I don't think she was hitting her serve 100 percent. Pretty much doing second serves all the time. [...] It's dangerous in general to underestimate her. She's still one of the best in the world."
Sharapova would advance to the semifinals that year at the French before losing to Ana Ivanovic.
- Maria Sharapova