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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Sharapova proud of her Siberian heritage

By Joanne C. Gerstner

Maria Sharapova

PARIS -- It's easy to forget that Maria Sharapova is actually Russian.

She speaks English fluently, and flawlessly, like an American. She sounds American, with only a tiny hint of an accent, and throws around the "uhs," "you knows" and "likes" that litter typical American speech patterns. She has spent more of her life in the United States than in Russia, but yes, she really is from Russia.

Sharapova mentioned Tuesday that she still gets goose bumps when she is introduced to the crowd as being born in Nyagan, Siberia. When people think of Siberia, it can conjure up thoughts of polar bears, hip-deep snowdrifts and freezing temperatures.

"I'm really happy and proud of where I came from and where I was born ... " Sharapova said. "Every time they say that, you can hear the crowd going, 'Whoa,' like I don't think people actually realize that's where I was born. When they say it, I always feel so proud, no matter -- like when they even say I've won the Grand Slams or been No. 1, when they say that, I get goose bumps because I'm so proud coming from there and getting to the position I am today."