May 19, 2016 / 1:58 PM / 2 years ago

Sharapova may not play again, says Russia's Tarpishchev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova may not play again after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, the president of the Russian tennis federation was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Mar 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Maria Sharapova speaks to the media announcing a failed drug test after the Australian Open during a press conference today at The LA Hotel Downtown. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports/Files

Shamil Tarpishchev told the R-Sport news agency that Sharapova’s situation was “bad”.

The five-times grand slam champion faces a possible ban of up to four years for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open in January.

British media reported that she had been due to attend an International Tennis Federation (ITF) anti-doping hearing in London on Wednesday.

There has been no subsequent comment by the ITF.

Sharapova stunned the world in March when she said she had returned a positive test for the Latvian-made heart medication which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA‘s) banned list from Jan. 1.

The world’s highest-paid sports woman claimed to have been taking meldonium on doctor’s orders for 10 years and had failed to note that it had become a banned substance until hearing of her failed test at the year’s first grand slam.

She was provisionally suspended on March 12 pending the hearing, and has lost a number of her lucrative sponsorship deals.

She said at the time that she hoped she would be allowed to play again.

The World Anti-Doping Agency WADA said in April, after hundreds of athletes had tested positive for meldonium, that bans might be overturned due to a lack of clear scientific information on how long the drug takes to be excreted.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov/Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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