MARIA Sharapova, a five-time grand slam winner and former world number 1, is on a visit to Rwanda, Africa Tembelea has learnt.
The global tennis star, who has been in Rwanda since Sunday, tracked the majestic mountain gorillas in Kinigi, Musanze District, on Tuesday.
“Rwanda 🇷🇼!! Early morning trek through the rainforest downpour to see the Silverback Gorillas 🦍 😅,” Sharapova posted on twitter upon seeing Africa’s Gentle Giants, the Mountain Gorillas.
Sharapova is the latest star athlete to visit the mountain gorillas in Rwanda after Arsenal defender David Luiz toured the country last month.
Under the sponsorship, the English premiership club completed a three-year deal worth D$39 million in May last year with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which will see them promote the country on their kits.
Estimates by Rwandan officials indicate that before the deal was signed, 71 percent of the millions of Arsenal fans worldwide did not consider Rwanda a tourist destination.
But by the end of the first year of the partnership, half of them considered Rwanda as a destination of choice.
Official reports by RDB indicate that revenue from gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park increased by 25 percent in 2018 to $19.2m from the previous year from the sale of 15,132 gorilla permits during the same period.
Prior to the increase of permit price and other initiatives focusing on promoting the country tourism sectors, 22,219 were sold, raking in $15m in revenue in 2019, reports said.
Maria Yuryevna Sharapova, a Russian professional tennis player has competed on the WTA tour since 2001. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the WTA on five separate occasions, for a total of 21 week
Sharapova is one of ten women, to hold the career Grand Slam. She is also an Olympic medalist, having won silver in women’s singles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Despite an injury-prone career, Sharapova has achieved a rare level of longevity in the women’s game. She won at least one singles title a year from 2003 until 2015, a streak only bested by Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert. Several tennis pundits and former players have called Sharapova one of tennis’s best competitors, with John McEnroe calling her one of the best the sport has ever seen.