MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Maria Sharapova is unlikely to be a heavily-favored player of the 2017 VTB Kremlin Cup tennis tournament, to be held this month in Moscow, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS on Friday.
The organizers of the tennis tournament in the Russian capital confirmed to TASS earlier in the day that Sharapova would be granted a wildcard in order to enter the competition as soon as she returns from another tournament, which is currently underway in China.
"She will not be viewed as a heavily-favored player since she has been granted a wildcard and will be unseeded," Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS. "Therefore, she may be drawn into a tough net."
"It is also unclear how Maria will be arranging her travel from China since she is already scheduled to play on Tuesday (in Moscow)," according to the RTF president.
"In any case, this is very good that Sharapova will be here and people will be coming (to the Kremlin Cup) to watch her playing," Tarpishchev said. "Sharapova is the face of not Russian tennis only, but of the whole world tennis."
The annual VTB Kremlin Cup tennis tournament is scheduled to be held on October 14-22 at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium and puts $1.6 million in prize money up for grabs. Sharapova played at the Kremlin Cup tournaments in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and her best result was the quarterfinal stage.
Playing currently at the 2017 Tianjin Open, Sharapova has not dropped a single set yet and secured another straight sets victory on Friday, which saw her advancing to the semifinal round of the tennis tournament in China.
The semifinal opponent of the 30-year-old Russian tennis player on Saturday will be 3rd-seed Peng Shuai of China, who is the tournament’s reigning champion.
Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006.
She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.
After a 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April at Stuttgart, where she stormed into the semifinals round of the tournament.
At the 2017 China Open, which closed last Sunday in Beijing, Sharapova failed to clear the third round stage and advance further to the quarterfinals.