Russian tennis head does a U-turn, backtracks on Maria Sharapova retirement claim

Moscow: The head of the Russian Tennis Federation backtracked on his earlier comments Thursday, saying he did not mean to suggest that Maria Sharapova's failed doping test could spell the end of her career.

Russian news agency R-Sport had earlier quoted Shamil Tarpishchev as saying that Sharapova's situation is "bad" and that it is "very doubtful" that she will resume her career.

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova. AP

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova. AP

"I only said that she can't play now because no ruling on her case has been issued," Tarpishchev told the Tass news agency.

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January. She said she had taken the drug for a decade for medical purposes and did not know it had been banned for 2016. She is currently provisionally suspended since March.

Sharapova attended an International Tennis Federation (ITF) anti-doping hearing in London on Wednesday, British media reported.

The hearing is expected to finish on Thursday, though it might be at least two weeks before a verdict is announced.

(With inputs from AP)

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Updated Date: May 19, 2016 17:45:52 IST

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