With the sunshiny weather of Florida and an army of hitting partners and would be coaches, Maria was free to
pursue her dream to make herself into the very best tennis player possible.
Now 19 years old, Sharapova who has lived a large part of her young life so far traveling to tennis tournaments, now
bases herself out of two homes in California and Florida, but has managed to remain Russian apparently in her heart
as she has announced this week her intention to make herself available for Russia in Fed Cup next year. In round
one April 21-22, Russia faces Spain at Moscow.
"I'm really excited to make my first appearance in Fed Cup for my country, and it is great to be playing the tie
in Moscow," Sharapova said. "Hopefully, myself and the team will put up a strong showing against Spain."
A Russian friend of mine recently was working here in the United States, until a few weeks ago when he returned to
work in Russia. Before his departure, I asked him if he felt Maria Sharapova was more Russian or American. He
echoed the sentiment a few of Sharapova's potential Russian Fed Cup teammates voiced not long ago concerning
Sharapova's version of the Russian language. "Her English is much better than her Russian," he said, "if you listen to
her press conferences."
Another factor most likely has entered into play. Sharapova by rules set has to indicate availibility for Fed Cup
for Russia in 2007, otherwise she would not be allowed to compete in the Olympics in 2008. Whatever her
motivations, here's wishing Maria Sharapova well when she enters team competition for the first time ever back
in her homeland within the icy regions of Russia next spring.