20 May 2016

Sharapova may not play again

9:23 am on 20 May 2016

Maria Sharapova may not play again after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, according to the president of the Russian tennis federation.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova Photo: Photosport

Shamil Tarpishchev told the R-Sport news agency that Sharapova's situation was "bad".

The five-time 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) banned list from 1 January.

The world's highest-paid sportswoman 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 12 March 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.

After hundreds of athletes tested positive for meldonium, WADA said in April bans might be overturned due to a lack of clear scientific information on how long the drug takes to be excreted.