While the world knows Maria’s story as an elite tennis player, not many know that her career started in Sochi, Russia; the same town that will welcome the winter’s best athletes this month. The young Maria picked up her first racket on the courts of the small resort town and returned here today to visit the place where it all began. As part of a court dedication ceremony in her honor, Maria, along with the help of local girls from the Evgeniy Kafelnikov Tennis Academy, reopened the court for play and spoke passionately about her early career, what the court means to her and what it means to be back home in Sochi for the Winter Olympics.
“I hit my first tennis ball on this court when I was 4 years old, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart.” said Maria Sharapova. “Without this court, my life could have taken a completely different direction.”
To offer inspiration to the local tennis community in Sochi, Nike recently refurbished the court for the academy and added a mural that illustrates Sharapova’s rise from a young star to one of the world’s elite tennis athletes.
It’s incredible to travel back to my roots and still see so much joy and passion from kids for the game today,” said Maria Sharapova. “I’m honored to officially re-open the court for play and I hope that these young stars will continue to develop and enhance their technique, and see that with dedication and motivation, you can rise to the top.”
As the world’s eyes turn to Sochi this month, Sharapova is excited for the action to start on her own turf. Having represented Russia at London 2010, she has experienced first-hand how incredible it is to compete on such a global stage.
“The Olympics is one of the most important times in an athlete’s career,” said Maria Sharapova. “I can’t wait to see all the athletes take their game to the next level, especially in sub-zero temperatures. I’m looking forward to the start of the tournament and wish the best of luck to the Russian athletes. Now it is their time to show the world how to Play Russian.”
Copy from the wall:
THIS IS MORE THAN A LINE ON A WALL.
IT’S WHERE A LITTLE GIRL HIT HER FIRST THOUSAND TENNIS BALLS.
IT’S DARING TO GO FURTHER.
IT’S DEFYING THE DOUBTERS.
IT’S DECIDING WHAT YOU WANT.
THEN DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
THIS IS NOT JUST A LINE ON A WALL.
IT’S WHERE LEGENDS ARE MADE.
JUST DO IT.
ЭТО БОЛЬШЕ, ЧЕМ ПРОСТО ЛИНИЯ НА СТЕНЕ.
ПЕРВЫЙ УДАР ПО МЯЧУ. ПЕРВАЯ ТЫСЯЧА УДАРОВ.
ЗДЕСЬ МАЛЕНЬКАЯ ДЕВОЧКА ОСМЕЛИЛАСЬ ПОЙТИ ДАЛЬШЕ.
БРОСИТЬ ВЫЗОВ СОМНЕНИЯМ.
РЕШИТЬ, ЧЕГО ОНА ДЕЙСТВИТЕЛЬНО ХОЧЕТ,
И СДЕЛАТЬ ВСЕ, ЧТОБЫ ЭТОГО ДОСТИЧЬ.
ЭТО БОЛЬШЕ, ЧЕМ ПРОСТО СТЕНА И ЛИНИЯ НА НЕЙ.
ЗДЕСЬ НАЧИНАЕТСЯ ДОРОГА К МЕЧТЕ.
JUST DO IT