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PARIS, April 14. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has not been enlisted in the final entry list of women participants of the 2016 French Open tennis tournament. The new entry list was published on the official website of the 2016 Roland Garros on Thursday.
According to media reports on Wednesday, former World’s No. 1 Sharapova, currently facing doping abuse accusations, was enlisted as eligible for taking part in the tournament, to be held in France between May 16 and June 5.
Prestigious Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer has no intentions of extending its sponsorship contract with Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova even in case the player is amnestied of doping accusations under new recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the company told TASS on Thursday.
A spokesman for the Swiss company announced to TASS that the sponsorship contract with former World’s No. 1 Sharapova expired on December 31, 2015 and there were no negotiations planned on the extension of the contract with the Russian tennis player.
According to TASS reports earlier in the year, the company suspended talks on the extension of its sponsorship contract with Sharapova after the player announced last month that she had tested positive for doping.
Some sort of a technical mistake may be behind doping abuse findings in regard to Russian tennis star and former World’s No. 1 Maria Sharapova, Marat Safin, the Russian candidate to enter the Tennis Hall of Fame, told TASS on Thursday.
"I believe that Maria [Sharapova] is a professional and a team of professionals is working with her," former World’s No. 1 Safin said in an interview with TASS. "I also believe that some sort of a technical mistake could be behind her situation with meldonium."
Early last month Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles that recent doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug meldonium in her body system. A decision regarding her sports career in view of doping accusations will be made by the Tribunal of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
"Perhaps she was not warned properly [of meldonium’s ban]," Safin said. "This must be some sort of a technical mistake."
"It takes meldonium quite some time to leave the body system, up to three months," the titled Russian tennis player said. "Meldonium remained in the body systems of many Russian athletes, who tested positive for the drug. Perhaps, they consumed the drug in September or October. It all depends on the individual physical peculiarities of the body system of an athlete. In some cases meldonium dehydrated from the body system and in some it did not."
On Wednesday, WADA announced that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable and the athlete at the issue was not a subject to any sanctions whatsoever.
Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), said on Wednesday that the doping case of Sharapova could be possibly settled after April 21, when he intended to hold a meeting with ITF President David Haggerty. Tarpishchev, however, added that the issue of Sharapova’s participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics remained under question.
The ITF announced in its statement on Thursday that the Tribunal would take into account WADA’s recent recommendations while reviewing Sharapova’s doping-abuse case.
In line with the ITF regulations, initial hearings on an alleged doping abuse by a tennis player should take place within three weeks after the results of the doping tests were announced. In case with Sharapova the hearings should have begun on March 23.
The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from January 1, 2016. The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).
Meldronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.
Born in Moscow on January 27, 1980, Safin is the two-time Grand Slam Champion (2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open) and the dual Davis Cup champion winning the trophies with the Russian national team in 2002 and 2006.
Throughout his career, the 35-year-old Russian tennis player won a total of 15 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) in men’s singles category. He wrapped up his tennis career in 2009 and was ranked 61st best player in ATP’s world best men’s singles rankings at that time.