ISTANBUL: Five-time Grand Slam holder Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova received a surprise marriage proposal from a fan at an exhibition game in Istanbul, Turkey.
Russian tennis star who is on tour as part of her preparations for next season, made a stop in Istanbul on Sunday to face local player Cagla Buyukakcay.
Sharapova was getting ready to serve when a fan unexpectedly shouted “Maria, will you marry me?” causing laughter from those in attendance at Sinan Erdem Hall.
The former world number one didn’t hesitate, answering “maybe” to the stranger who interrupted her serve with the sudden proposal.
Buyukakcay, ranked 161st in the World Tennis Association (WTA) standings, showed fierce resistance in taking the first set to a tie break, before Sharapova eventually prevailed 7-6.
The more experienced Russian went on to seal victory by dismantling her Turkish opponent in the second set, 6-0.
Following the game, Sharapova told the press that she was happy to be part of such an event in Istanbul and thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm.
Playing against Büyükakçay was “both difficult and delightful,” said the 30-year-old player. Buyukakcay also said it was “a huge pleasure” to play against Sharapova.
After serving a 15-month disqualification for the use of the banned drug meldonium Russian tennis star Sharapova returned to action in April.
She was granted a wildcard entry into the US Open where she knocked out the second seed Simona Halep of Romania.