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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sharapova Sochi Ambassador

ReutersSharapova promoting Russia's 2014 Olympic bid in California on Wednesday.
LONDON -- Maria Sharapova has been lined up as a high-profile booster of Sochi's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion and last year's U.S. Open winner, spent part of her childhood in Sochi -- a Black Sea resort -- before moving to the United States at age 9.

"Sochi is the city where my love of tennis began when I was just 4 years old," she said.

Sharapova will serve as an "ambassador" for Sochi in its competition against Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. The International Olympic Committee will pick the host city on July 4 in Guatemala City.

Sharapova said the Olympics would leave "an unprecedented social, sporting and environmental legacy" for Russia, which has never held the winter games.

Sharapova, who appeared at a news conference Wednesday in Los Angeles, is unlikely to be in Guatemala for the IOC decision -- the vote takes place during the second week of Wimbledon.

Sharapova pulled out of next week's Italian Open because of a right shoulder injury. The second-ranked Russian has not played since losing to Serena Williams in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in March.