Maria Sharapova doesn't know who Sachin Tendulkar is: Here's why that shouldn't be a surprise

Maria Sharapova attracted outrage from Tendulkar fans this week (Source: Getty)

Tennis star Maria Sharapova has managed to cause a storm among fans of cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar.

At a press conference following Sharapova's third round victory on Saturday, a reporter pointed out that Tendulkar was also in attendance. When asked if she was aware of the player, Sharapova fessed up: "I don't."

Cue outrage from Teundulkar's fan base. They've taken to Twitter to voice their anger at what they see as Sharapova's ignorance. One angry fan has even edited the tennis player's entry on Wikipedia, to mention that she "does not know Sachin Tendulkar".

Tendulkar, who retired from cricket in November last year at the age of 40, is arguably the greatest batsman in the history of the sport.

Sachin, known as the 'Little Master' thanks to his diminutive size, is the only player to have scored 100 hundreds in international cricket with 51 One Day International tons and 51 Test Match centuries. He notched up a total of 34,357 runs in a career spanning 24 years.

Worshipped by fans across the world, he is an Indian national hero and can do no wrong according to his millions of devotees. Crowds gathered for an all-night vigil outside his home after he announced his retirement.

But putting aside what fans see as a gaping hole in Sharapova's knowledge, it's clear from internet search results that it's the tennis player, not the cricket star, who gets more attention globally.

From 2004 to now, average search traffic on Google has been markedly higher for Sharapova. The attention given to Tendulkar has rarely exceeded that for the Russian, only notably eclipsing her when his retirement was announced last November.

While Tendulkar is certainly well known by cricket fans across the globe, interest is strongly localised around south Asia. Sharapova's appeal might be more dispersed, but globally her brand seems to be stronger.

Given that Sharapova has spent most of her life in Russia and then the United States, it's probably not surprising that she doesn't know all that much about cricket. The tennis player left Russia in 1994, and it didn't have an International Cricket Council approved team until 2012, and cricket isn't the most popular sport in the US either.