BOGOTA – Russian former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova said prior to an exhibition match that she prefers to be recognized for her talent on the court rather than her looks and facet as a model.
The 26-year-old tennis star will square off Friday evening against another former top-ranked player on the WTA Tour, Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, at Bogota’s El Campin arena.
“Tennis is the most important thing in my life ... the reason why I’m here today” Sharapova said in a press conference when asked about her various modeling assignments.
The current world No. 4 added that she hopes that on Friday she and Ivanovic, also 26, are recognized as tennis professionals and not as beauty icons.
Sharapova also told reporters that she was currently trying to fully recover from a right shoulder injury that forced her to miss some tournaments during the 2013 season.
The Russian four-time Grand Slam champion said she hoped to enjoy herself in Friday’s exhibition and that she and Ivanovic, winner of the 2008 French Open and current world No. 16, can give the crowd of 10,000 people a good show.
Sharapova, who has traveled the world constantly since turning pro on her 14th birthday in 2001, added that it was strange that she had never been to Colombia before, but that she was very excited to essentially kick off her 2014 season in the Andean nation.