Russia turn down Sharapova's request to carry flag
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Officials have rejected Maria Sharapova's request to carry the Russian flag at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
"She wanted to be a flag-bearer (on August 8) but I advised against it," Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev told reporters on Wednesday.
"I don't want her to spend three or four hours in hot weather waiting to march in the opening ceremony. We want her to be fresh, not tired, during her matches."
World number two Sharapova has decided against living in the athletes village during the Games.
"She said she didn't want to stay in the Olympic village because it's very noisy there and she needed plenty of rest between matches," said Tarpishchev.
Sharapova will lead the Russian women's tennis team in China. She is joined by Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina, ranked number four, five and nine in the world respectively.
Tarpishchev said Dementieva, who won the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, also turned down a chance to stay in the athletes village.
"That's not a problem for us and we will book a hotel room for them," he said. "The problem might be the traffic and transportation from the hotel to the tennis venue and back."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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