Maria Sharapova may never play tennis again after testing positive for banned substance meldonium
Russian sport chief, Shamil Tarpishchev – ‘the situation is “bad,” Sharapova may never play tennis again’
Five-time Grand Slam winner facing upto 4 years ban
Russian sport chief, Shamil Tarpishchev: Sharapova is in a “bad situation.” It is “very doubtful” she will play again
Former world number one Maria Sharapova may never play again following her failed drugs test, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation says.
The Russian, 29, tested positive for meldonium at January’s Australian Open.
When asked if Sharapova would play any more tournaments, Shamil Tarpishchev told R-Sport news agency it was “very doubtful” and added the five-time Grand Slam winner was in a “bad situation”.
When She made the announcement in January, Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid sportswoman claimed to have been taking meldonium on doctor’s orders for 10 years and had failed to note that it had become a banned substance until hearing of her failed test at the year’s first grand slam.
After her January announcement Sharapova was provisionally suspended in March pending the hearing, and has lost some lucrative sponsorship deals. Now could be out for good
She was provisionally suspended on March 12 pending the hearing, and has lost a number of her lucrative sponsorship deals, Sharapova countered saying she was “determined to play tennis again”.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in April, after hundreds of athletes had tested positive for meldonium, that bans might be overturned due to a lack of clear scientific information on how long the drug takes to be excreted.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) provisionally suspended Sharapova on 12 March.
She is waiting to hear the full extent of her punishment, which could be as much as a four-year ban, although experts say a six-month or 12-month suspension is more likely.
That is because the World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) admitted in April that scientists were unsure how long meldonium stayed in the system. It even suggested athletes who tested positive for the substance before 1 March could avoid bans, provided they had stopped taking it before 1 January. However, Sharapova has already admitted she continued taking meldonium past that date, saying she was unaware it had been added to the banned list as she knew it by another name, mildronate.