Maria Sharapova will be back in WTA rankings after 3 tournaments next year, says RTF Vice President Alexei Selivanenko

Maria Sharapova is now eligible to officially return to the tennis courts from April 26 next year after her ban was reduced from 24 to 15 months.

By: IANS | Moscow | Published:October 24, 2016 10:03 pm
Maria Sharapova Maria Sharapova has been allowed by ITF to play in exhibition matches before her ban expires. (Source: AP)

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, currently suspended on doping-related charges, will return to the singles rankings following her performance at three tournaments next year, a senior official with the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) said on Monday.

According to the new rankings released by the Women Tennis Association (WTA) on Monday, the former World No.1 dropped out of the global top-100 female tennis players, reports Efe.

“Sharapova’s departure from the WTA rankings list is a matter of technical detail,” RTF Vice President Alexei Selivanenko said.

“She needs to take part in at least three tournaments in order to regain her stance in the ranking list.”

“She lost the minimal required quota (to stay in the ranking list) of three tournaments since she had not played since the beginning of this year,” Selivanenko added.

“However, she will resume playing next year and, as soon she competes in three tournaments, she will be back in the ranking list. There are no doubts that she will be granted wild cards from tournaments’ organisers and she will return to the ranking list.”

Sharapova has been allowed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to play in exhibition matches before her ban expires.

She has been serving a two-year suspension for violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled October 4 to reduce her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.

The right-handed player is now eligible to officially return to the tennis courts from April 26 next year.

In early March, Sharapova was told that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug Meldonium in her body system. Following the announcement, she was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities.

Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS on June 9 against her two-year suspension, which was officially announced on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tribunal over anti-doping violations.

Due to the ban the silver medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London had to miss the 2016 Rio Games in August.