SINGAPORE : Tennis sensation Maria Sharapova feels Singapore would make a good host for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
This is despite the fact that the Russian would prefer Moscow to win the bid.
Moscow currently leads the race, topping the five cities shortlisted by the International Olympic Committee.
The 20-year-old tennis star was speaking to the media ahead of her exhibition match at the Indoor stadium on Sunday.
Maria Sharapova has a packed schedule while in Singapore but she still had time for fans and the media, eager to ask everything about her game and personal life.
And it’s ironic that the Russian star is in the city which is going head-on against her country to host the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
But Sharapova showed that she is adept with words as much as she in with tennis.
Sharapova says: “I love for it to come to Moscow, but I mean both places are incredible, but I don’t think that you can go wrong, with either one, I think each one is a great candidate but you know may the best win.”
Also playing the diplomatic game is fellow Russian, Anna Chakvetadze, who will play against Sharapova.
She says: “Off course I would like Russia to win, but if Singapore wins, it also would be great, because it is good thing for Asia, for Singapore and I think both cities can win.”
Singapore could not have asked for a better endorsement from the Russian stars.
Oon Jin Teik, CEO, Singapore Sports Council, says: “Hey, if the two Russians can have a good time, then Singapore obviously is a good place to host the Youth Olympic Games.”
Away from the Games, Sharapova was also asked about the dark side of tennis – the scourge of drugs and match-fixing which invaded the men’s game recently.
Sharapova says: “The women’s game is very clean, our CEO is doing all things possible from having meetings throughout the year to encouraging players to be safe and smart about their choices, he is been really good on that. Unfortunately, we have to be realistic on the fact that some of these things do go on, they are fact, unless you actually get a written statement.”
As for their showdown, both women say it will be a tough game, though Chakvetadze has never beaten Sharapova in all their previous encounters. – CNA/ch
Channel News Asia