London: Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has said that she had dreamt of competing in the Olympic Games since she was a child and is looking forward to making her debut at London 2012.
She will play in the women's singles event at the All England Club where she won the women's singles title at the Wimbledon Championships in 2004, reports Xinhua.
Russia made a clean sweep of the women's singles medals at Beijing, where Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva won gold, silver and bronze respectively.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was very young," she said. "Tennis in Russia when I was growing up till the age of seven was not very big. Over the years, you've seen how successful it has become in my country and now how important it is to be a tennis player as part of the Olympics."
"Also it will be my first one so I really can't wait."
Sharapova will carry the Russian flag at the opening ceremony, and she described how she felt when she was asked to do so while competing at Roland Garros in Paris in June.
"It was huge. I had to read the text message five times and read it to other people to make sure I got it right. I got it after my third round at the French Open saying if I would do something like that. I was very happy to accept."
The London Olympic tennis tournament will run from 28 July through 5 August.