There was slim hope that Russian tennis hero Maria Sharapova was going to make it to Rio for the Olympics despite her conviction for doping – she appealed her two-year ban from tennis, and it looked like the Court of Arbitration for Sport was gonna let her give it a go.
Alas, it was not to be. Sharapova, who copped the ban after testing positive to recently banned substance meldonium, won’t be able to front the court till September. “Maria Sharapova and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have agreed to defer the CAS decision until September 2016,” said a statement.
“A decision is expected to be issued by 19 September 2016.”
The Olympics start on the 5th of August, so there’s no way around it: Sharapova ain’t going to Rio.
The parties had originally agreed to an expedited process which would have issued a judgement this month. That means if Sharapova had been let off, she would have been able to compete in Rio.
The Russian Tennis Federation chief wasn’t happy about it, as you might imagine. “(It is) a serious loss for our team at the Olympics as we counted on her medal in women’s singles,” Shamil Tarpishchev was quoted as saying.
As it stands, her ban will end on January 25th, 2018. Unless she gets reprieve, thats eight Grand Slam tournaments she’s gonna be missing.
Photo: Getty Images / Ullstein Bild.