Maria Sharapova knew at an early age that moving to a different country will soon pay off.
After copping an array of accolades during her illustrious tennis career, Sharapova has already cemented her name in the list of greatest athletes of all time. But like any other sports legend, the five-time grand slam champion also had her fair share of setbacks.
In a recent Instagram live interview with Naked Cashmere, Sharapova looked back at the struggles she had dealt with when she moved to America as a seven-year-old Russian kid.
According to the former WTA’s no. 1 player, the language wasn’t really much of a barrier and it was the feeling of being homesick that struck her the most.
However, Sharapova quickly realized that at a tender age, America was the right place to pursue her dreams.
“I was kind of like the odd one out,” Sharapova revealed. “But from a young girl’s perspective it was really exciting I didn’t speak much English I knew a few words I had a tutor, and I learned very fast because I was surrounded by kids at a tennis academy.”
“I picked up English so fast but I miss my mom you know I miss my friends I miss my home and but what I did love about America was I right away understood what opportunity was and the coaches and the talent that was there they pushed me to be a better player,” she added.
All throughout the early stages of her soaring career, the tennis icon got her family’s full support. Along with a great team, Sharapova and her family worked together to hone a “talented” kid into one of the world’s greatest players that the sport has ever seen.
“It was very scary, and there was a lot of fear in the family,” the 33-year-old admitted. “ But we were doing it because a lot of people noticed that I was talented from a young age and they encouraged my father to keep progressing that talent and to keep working at it because talent wasn’t enough.”
A month after her first-round defeat to Donna Vekic at the Australian Open on Jan. 20, Sharapova, at age 32, decided to call it a career.