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Russian tennis chief: Sharapova will rejoin world’s top players if ‘she still has speed’

January 10, 15:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sharapova is set to make her comeback following a doping suspension this year on April 26 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart

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© AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Russia’s Maria Sharapova is able to re-enter the elite division of world’s top tennis players if she is still in a good physical shape, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS on Tuesday.

According to reports earlier in the day, Sharapova is set to make her comeback following a doping suspension this year on April 26 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart.

"We cannot wait for Sharapova to be back on the court," Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS. "I have never doubted her emotion stability and she never suffered an emotional upset over the year. Her emotional strength helped winning more than one match."

"However, this is not the main concern at the moment considering the fact that the game of has been recently gaining more power and speed," he said. "The most important for Maria is not to lose her physical shape."

"If she still has the speed, she will be all right and will manage to be back among the top players," Tarpishchev added.

The tennis star returns without ranking and will need a wildcard to enter the tournament in Stuttgart, which can be considered as Sharapova’s most favorite ones since she won it three times in a row between 2012 and 2014.

Sharapova, who is currently under suspension over anti-doping rules violations, was allowed last year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to play at exhibition matches before her ban expires. She already played two exhibition matches.

The tennis player has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26 last year. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to reduce her suspension term from 24 to 15 months. Sharapova is officially eligible to make her comeback on April 26 this year.

Last March, Sharapova was first to announce that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, former World’s No. 1 was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities.

In early June, Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS in Switzerland’s Lausanne 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 imposed ban Sharapova, the silver Olympic medalist of the 2012 Games in London, had to miss the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, held last August in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

Mildronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without a doctor’s prescription.

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