According to RIA Novosti; Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is a leading contender to carry the Russian flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport on Tuesday.
|2012 London Olympics: French Open champion Maria Sharapova likely to carry Russian flag at opening ceremony|
While Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev said on Tuesday that Sharapova will be the Russian delegation's flag-bearer at next month's Olympic opening ceremony in London, Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev said on Tuesday.
'Tennis is a very popular sport and, so as far as I know, Roger Federer has been chosen to carry the Swiss flag and Rafa Nadal will lead the Spanish delegation at the opening ceremony in London," Tarpishchev, a member of the International Olympic Committee, was quoted as saying by local media.
Carrying the flag is considered a great honour in Russia and it is tradionally given to famous athletes, mostly men, such as Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin and swimmer Alexander Popov, who have won numerous Olympic titles.
The Russians might break the tradition by choosing Sharapova, who won the French Open title last weekend.
The Olympic tennis tournament will be played on the grass courts at Wimbledon where, as a 17-year-old, Sharapova stunned Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final to win her maiden grand slam title.