Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova says she couldn’t believe her luck for three days after being selected as the country’s flag bearer at the opening of the London Olympics.
"I got a message asking me to become flag bearer of the team after a third round match at Roland Garros," Sharapova told Sovetsky Sport newspaper. “My joy was boundless. I showed the SMS from Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev to everybody and asked: ‘Am I getting this right, guys?’ For three days I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t a dream.”
Sharapova is sure that participation in the opening ceremony won’t deprive her of the strength she might need in the battle for the Olympic gold.
"I won’t be carrying it with one hand," she explained. "As far as I know, there’ll be a special corset on the body which helps keep the flag in the right position. So it won’t be a problem."
The 25-year-old will become the first female flag bearer in modern Russian history and also the first tennis player to be given the honor.
"I always said – and I was sincere – that the Olympics are the dream of my life," Sharapova stressed. "Since my early childhood when as a little girl I watched Evgeny Kafelnikov playing in Sydney, I dreamt that I’d also be able to bring a medal for my country someday. And now this dream can come true.”
The World No.3 also says that being a flag bearer doesn’t put her under any extra pressure.
"I have long been accustomed to responsibility, first of all, before myself. I don’t need to carry the country’s flag at the opening of the Olympics to be fully motivated. If I'm in good shape, I'll be ready to fight for victory and the status of the flag bearer won’t affect my game at all," Sharapova concluded.
The 2012 Summer Olympics are to be held in British capital, London, between July 27 and August 12.