Maria Sharapova, the consensus world No. 2 on the WTA Tour, has been a resident of the United States for a significant portion of her life, and while she has always respected the nation that she resides in, she has never been interested in abandoning her own nationality for American citizenship.
In fact, even though Sharapova has not resided in Russia since the age of seven, she was one of the athletes who took part in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics; she got to bear the Olympic torch all the way into the stadium.
“It was an honor, one of the best days of my career and my life,” Sharapova told CNBC. “My whole family was there watching. Pass through the stadium with the Olympic torch, it was great.”
Clearly proud of her heritage and culture, Sharapova suggested that there was never any doubt that she would remain a Russian citizen. After all, it was the Russian way of life that inspired her willpower and determination, she says.
“If I had wanted to change citizenship, I would have done it, but I never thought about it. The Russian tradition has enriched my life, and the mentality and the tenacity of the Russians is part of me.
“It is about the family environment, it is about the rich culture. Just life experiences that I look back to and I know that for so many years I was shaped into the individual I was from those experiences. And not necessarily simply the country, but the people, the mentality and the toughness and that never giving up attitude.”
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