Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova received a surprise marriage proposal from a fan at an exhibition game in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday. The five-time Grand Slam holder, 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, was beaten by Sharapova 6-7, 0-6.

Sharapova returned to action in April after serving a 15-month disqualification for the use of the banned drug meldonium. She is under investigation by Indian police for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed. The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions of dollars from home buyers before the project folded. Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the buyers, told AFP that police had filed initial charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy against Sharapova as part of a wider case against the firm Homestead Infrastructure Development.

The 30-year-old tennis star travelled to India in 2012 to launch the luxury high-rise apartment complex , named Ballet by Sharapova which prospective buyers were told would house a tennis academy, a clubhouse and a helipad.

This year she was granted a wildcard entry into the US Open where she knocked out the second seed Simona Halep of Romania in the first round and added two more wins before losing to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the fourth round.

In October, Sharapova claimed her first trophy after returning to the WTA tour by taking a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 victory over her 19-year-old Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Tianjin Open.

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