Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is being slammed on Instagram for posing with a US flag

  • Tennis ace Maria Sharapova has been attacked on social media after posing with a US flag.
  • The 30-year-old posted a photo of herself standing with her mother in front of a an artwork of the flag at an art exhibition.
  • Instagram followers criticised Sharapova of "not having the guts to pose with a Russian flag."

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has suffered a social media backlash after posing with a US flag.

The five-time tennis major champion posed for a photograph at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, arm-in-arm with her mother and standing in front of an artwork of the Star-Spangled Banner.

After posting the image, Sharapova was subjected to vitriolic abuse as followers accused her, mostly in Russian, of not having the courage to "pose with a Russian flag" and of "only showing patriotism" when it suited her.

One user commented in English: "It's pathetic that you're cheering for 'American' tennis champion who acts under the Russian flag and clothes, listens to the Russian anthem and denies the US passport."

Here's the photograph:

The 30-year-old has been a US resident since 1994, but competes for Russia, even representing the country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

She was Russia's official flag bearer at the opening ceremony and went on to win a silver medal in the women's singles event.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 8: Maria Sharapova, champion of Grand Slam tournament of the 2014 French Open, pose with her trophy at Trocadero Square of Paris, France on June 8, 2014. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Maria Sharapova poses at Sephora 5th Avenue on August 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sephora)
Maria SharapovaWUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot during her match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland returns a shot during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 24: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot during her match against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland on day four of 2014 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 24, 2014 in Wuhan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky reaches for a ball during her match against Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Wuhan Open tennis tournament in Wuhan, in China's Hubei province on September 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 31: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark celebrates match point against Maria Sharapova of Russia after winning their women's singles fourth round match on Day Seven of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their 2014 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center August 31, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania during their women's singles second round match on Day Three of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 27, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Maria Kirilenko of Russia returns a shot against Maria Sharapova of Russia during her women's singles first round match on Day One of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 25, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LOS CABOS, MEXICO - JULY 09: Tennis player Maria Sharapova smiles during her holidays with her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov (not in frame) on July 09 in Los Cabos, Mexico. (Photo by Humberto Servin/Clasos/LatinContent/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova attends the CFDA Celebrates Fashion Targets Breast Cancer 20th Anniversary event with Maria Sharapova, presented by Porsche at The New Museum on August 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Council of Fashion Designers of America)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Maria Sharapova speaks at a Q&A about being a SELF Made woman hosted by SELF Magazine September cover star Maria Sharapova and Editor-in-Chief Joyce Chang on August 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for SELF Magazine)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after defeating Simona Halep of Romania after a match on Day 7 of the Western & Southern Open on August 15, 2014 at the Linder Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati,Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Tennis player Maria Sharapova arrives at the 2014 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Tennis player Maria Sharapova presents award for Best Game at The 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images For ESPYS)
LOS CABOS, MEXICO - JULY 09: Tennis player Maria Sharapova smiles during her holidays with her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov (not in frame) on July 09 in Los Cabos, Mexico. (Photo by Humberto Servin/Clasos/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts to winning a game against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's singles fourth round match on day eight of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen backdropped by the Eiffel Tower after her victory on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/GC Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 8: Maria Sharapova, champion of Grand Slam tournament of the 2014 French Open, pose with her trophy at Trocadero Square of Paris, France on June 8, 2014. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses in front of the Eiffel Tower with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen at Trocadero, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia arrives at Trocadero for a photocall, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses at Trocadero, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania, on day fifteen of the French Open on June 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris on June 8, 2014 a day after winning the Roland Garros French Tennis Open. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates her victory with her team, coach Sven Groeneveld, hitting coach Dieter Kindlmann and physiotherapist Jerome Bianchi, following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates match point during her women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 7: Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy following her victory in the women's singles final match against Simona Halep of Romania on day fourteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
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This is hardly the first time Sharapova has come under fire in recent years.

In 2016, the tennis star was banned from competing for two years after testing positive for meldonium, a banned substance. However, her sentence was reduced on appeal and she returned to the WTA Tour in 2017.

Most recently, Sharapova played at the Indian Wells Open in California but was knocked out of the opening round by Naomi Osaka on March 8.

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