The president of the Russian Tennis Federation on Thursday cast doubt on the prospect of former No. 1-ranked player Maria Sharapova ever returning to the sport. Shamil Tarpishchev said the five-time Grand Slam winner was in a “bad situation” and that he’s “very doubtful” she’ll ever mount a comeback.
Sharapova, 29, tested positive for meldonium, a drug used to treat a lack of blood flow in patients with heart conditions, ahead of the Australian Open in January. The drug has also been used by athletes to increase exercise capacity. She was suspended by the International Tennis Federation in March. The ITF hasn’t decided on the full extent of Sharapova’s punishment, but she could be suspended from competition for up to four years. Some expect the suspension to span six months or a year.
In March, Sharapova issued a statement thanking fans and vowed to return to the sport. Sharapova said she didn’t recognize the name of the drug, which had recently been added to the sport’s list of banned substances and adding that she was only familiar with the brand name of the drug, Mildronate. The fallout for the tennis champ was swift and dramatic. The United Nations suspended her as a Goodwill Ambassador and she lost all of her endorsement deals. Rival tennis great Serena Williams said at the time the story broke that she was “surprised and shocked” by the news.
Read the full story at BBC Sport.