The former world number one faced a walk in the park during her opening round match against Israel’s Shahar Peer at Wimbledon on Sunday, especially when compared to the battle that was on her hands at the athletes’ cafeteria afterwards.
Following her 6-2, 6-0 victory at Wimbledon the tennis star hoped to re-fill her tanks in the athletes’ village at … but what she didn’t count on was just how popular she was with her fellow Olympic athletes. Virtually mobbed by athletes and competitors Sharapova, who was the flag-bearer for Russia during the opening ceremony, “left without eating and barely managed to grab an orange juice.”
Easily one of the most recognised women in the world as well as one of the tennis world’s biggest stars, Sharapova admits that she is “a little naive when it comes to my popularity and success.” Speaking to press after being pursued for autographs and photos with the star struck athletes, Sharapova described how she has “never seen so many people so happy because they got a photo with me.”
Although having her precious lunch breaks interrupted by autograph signing and photo calls is time consuming, it’s bound to prove a welcome distraction for the Grand Slam champion as she is making her Olympic debut this year. 2012 has been a year of ups and downs for the Russian tennis ace, after the high of competing a Career Grand Slam with her victory at the French Open and the low of her shock exit from Wimbledon, the pressure is certainly mounting for her to retain her form and possibly regain the world number 1 ranking as well as a gold medal during the tennis event this fortnight.