Maria Sharapova is not riding off into the sunset just yet. Only about a week after Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev, who’s also an International Olympic Committee member, speculated that the five-time Grand Slam winner’s career may be over, he announced Thursday that she has been named to Russia’s Olympic team. “We will include Sharapova in the team, which we need to announce by 6 June,” Tarpishchev said, adding that whether she will actually play at the Rio games is another matter. Sharapova was suspended by the ITF in March after testing positive for meldonium, a banned substance, and is still waiting to learn the length of that suspension. “Whether she competes or not should be decided by the end of the first week of Roland Garros,” he said. Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances in January, but in April, the agency issued a statement saying that drug tests administered prior to March 1 that were positive for meldonium but showed less than one microgram of meldonium, would not lead to any punishment. The meldonium levels in Sharapova’s drug tests have not been made public yet.
Joining Sharapova on the Olympic team are fellow Russian players Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina. If it turns out that Sharapova is unable to compete, she’ll be replaced by Ekaterina Makarova, the fifth-ranked women’s player in the country.
The 29-year-old tennis star was in Chicago Wednesday promoting a new candy bar she just released and has yet to comment on her inclusion on the Olympic team.
Read the full story at Reuters.