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Russian tennis chief: Sharapova unlikely to team up with national squad next year

November 16, 20:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Following a 15-month suspension over doping abuse accusations, Sharapova made her comeback in April

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© EPA/RONALD WITTEK

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is very unlikely to team up with the national squad next year, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS on Thursday.

"There is no sense bugging Sharapova during the upcoming season," Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS after asked whether the tennis star would join the national team in the race to win the next Federation Cup, which is also known as the Fed Cup.

"The schedule of the Fed Cup looks like that Maria is almost certainly to miss the February encounter and afterwards there are small chances of summoning her," Tarpishchev said that Sharapova "should better return to the (WTA) top-ten as soon as possible."

According to the RTF president, the comeback of the former World’s No. 1 to the top ten of the Women Tennis Association (WTA) ratings list, "is her priority for the upcoming season."

Following a 15-month suspension over doping abuse accusations, Sharapova made her comeback in April, but was later forced to miss more than two months due to a sustained thigh injury.

Early last month, Sharapova won the WTA final game against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in China’s Tianjin, scoring 7:5, 7:6 (10:8). The 2017 WTA Tianjin Open was the first tournament for Sharapova to win since May 2015.

In all, Sharapova won 16 out of 22 matches she played this season following her return to the sport. The 30-year-old player also took part in the VTB Kremlin Cup for the first time in 10 years, but lost in the opening round encounter against Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. It turned out to be Sharapova’s last match this season.

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 the 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April at Stuttgart courts, where she stormed into the semifinals round of the tournament.

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