International tennis star Maria Sharapova has thrown her support behind Sochi’s bid for the 2014 Olympic Winter games.

The 20 year-old has won both Wimbledon and the US Open, and was the first Russian player to top the WTA rankings.

“I lived [in Sochi] for five years” Sharapova told in an exclusive interview from Los Angeles, “Sochi is an amazing city and I don’t think a lot of people realize it will be such an incredible experience.

Sharapova said her love of tennis began when she was four years old in Sochi.

“I actually left there to go to America because I couldn’t develop my tennis skills because in winter time there wasn’t a lot of facilities.

She hopes that the Winter Olympics will leave a legacy of sports facilities for young athletes so they won’t have to leave their country and city to train for their chosen sport as she was forced to do.

“It’s a beautiful city and I’m so proud of it. I always tell my friends in America I want to take you there, I want to show you where I grew up.”

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