Things Might Be Looking Up For Sharapova

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Maria Sharapova Tennis News

Maria Sharapova appears to have been given a major lifeline in making her return to tennis after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledged a lack of scientific evidence to determine how quickly the banned drug meldonium can leave the body.

Consequently Sharapova’s American lawyer John J. Haggerty believes the case against the richest sportswoman in the world has been undermined by this uncertainty and therefore there is a possibility she could be back playing on WTA competitions by Wimbledon if not sooner.

WADA released the statement yesterday, saying: “There is currently a lack of clear scientific information on excretion times. As a result it is difficult to know whether an athlete may have taken the substance before or after January 1, when it became illegal. In these circumstances,  we consider that there may be grounds for no fault or negligence on the part of the athlete.”

Haggerty responded: “The fact that WADA felt compelled to issue this unusual statement now is proof of how poorly they handled issues relating to meldonium in 2015. Given the fact that scores of athletes have tested positive for taking what previously was a legal product, it’s clear Wada did not handle this properly last year and they’re trying to make up for it now.

“The notice underscores why so many legitimate questions have been raised concerning WADA’s process in banning meldonium as well as the manner in which they notified players. This notice should have been widely distributed in 2015, when it would have made a difference in the lives of many athletes.”

The International Tennis Federation confirmed there will be a hearing for the Sharapova case and a spokesman said: “We have seen the statement from WADA and obviously any ongoing cases will take that information from WADA, but it won’t affect the fact that there is an ongoing case.”

Shamil Tarpischev, the Russian Tennis Federation president, told media Sharapova’s ban could be addressed in a meeting with the International Tennis Federation this month.

Speaking to Russia’s Tass news agency, Tarpischev said: “The situation with Sharapova could be resolved after April 21 when we meet with the head of the international federation. After that all should become clear.”

However he added: “It is too early to talk about Sharapova competing at the Olympic Games.”

Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister, has welcomed Wada’s announcement, saying: “The Russian sports ministry supports and welcomes the decision made by WADA because it has showed a willingness to understand the situation, rather than stick to the rulebook.

“WADA has demonstrated impartiality and being objective in the fight against doping.”

Neither Sharapova, who turns 29 years of age next Tuesday, or her management company IMG made any comment regarding the ongoing events.

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.