Tennis star Maria Sharapova said in an interview with CNBS she has never wanted to trade her Russian passport for an American one although she has been living in the United States for many years.
"I would have if I wanted to [change citizenships] but it's never been actually a question in my family or in my team whether I wanted to change citizenships," Sharapova said.
Sharapova, 27, the highest paid female athlete in the world, who was born in a small town of Nyagan in western Siberia and moved to the United States at the age of seven, said the rich Russian culture helped shape her.
"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," she said.
Sharapova, who won her first Grand Slam title at the age of 17, also said one the best days in her career was the experience as a torch bearer at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
"It was an honor. I really felt like it was one of the best days in my career and in my life really and it was one of the first times where I had my whole family in the stadium watching me. Going up the ramp and jogging to the whole nation with the torch. It was one of the most unique feelings I think I'll ever have," she said.
Speaking on the current tensions in the Russian-US relations, Sharapova said she was "very sad" that her home country was going through such a "tough time."
"But I don't get involved in it too much because for me being an athlete, I get to represent a country that I'm very close to and that I spent so many years of my childhood in and that deep down inside makes me very happy," she added.
First published by TASS.
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