MOSCOW: Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova would need at least six months to get back into shape to display decent results at international tournaments following her comeback next month in April, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), told TASS on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Currently sitting out a provisional suspension, the female tennis star is set to make her comeback following a doping ban on April 26 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart.
Sharapova is currently in her full-swing preparations for the comeback,” Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS. “However, one should not immediately expect victories and new trophies from her.”
The 29-year-old Sharapova has already picked up wildcards for tennis tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome, as she is making her return to the WTA circle following her suspension for doping violations.
“It will take her at least half a year to adjust to the fiercely competitive schedule after the comeback,” the Russian tennis chief added.
The tennis player has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26 last year. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to reduce her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.
Last March, Sharapova announced that her doping tests revealed the presence of the banned performance enhancing drug, meldonium, in her body. Following the announcement, the former World’s No. 1 tennis star was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities, even from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
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 a silver medal winner of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2008 Federations Cup champion.