Maria Sharapova has been keeping things optimistic ever since she received her suspension from professional tennis. Her doping tests came back positive this January, showing that she took melodium, a new drug that has been added to the list of banned substances in 2016. Initially, her suspension was doled out for two years, but the most recent reports suggested that Maria Sharapova may be facing Serena Williams in 2017.
Unfortunately, the former world No. 1 had to forego the 2016 Olympics Games, but good news may come to her sooner than expected.
“Five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, banned in June for two years for doping offences, may be allowed to return in January, according to Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Everything will be decided in September. It is impossible to say for certain but I think she will start playing again by January,” the outlet added.
Maria Sharapova missed out on an opportunity to aim for the gold in Rio.
“A ruling on Maria Sharapova’s appeal of her two-year doping ban has been postponed until September, ruling her definitively out of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,” reports the New York Times. “The Court of Arbitration for Sport said that Sharapova and the International Tennis Federation had agreed to defer the decision, which had been expected to be issued by next Monday. The court said that both parties wanted more time to prepare their cases and cited ‘scheduling conflicts.'”
But she will be elated to find herself back on tennis courts after a short half-year stint attending Harvard seminars, developing her candy business, shooting Netflix show with comedian Chelsea Handler and curating her Instagram to a tip-top shape.
This might actually be the perfect time for the Russian to return to tennis. Although she has matched Steffi Graff’s record number of titles at Wimbledon this year, Serena Williams failed to defend her gold medals in both doubles and single at Rio Olympics. This means that the 34-year-old rival’s confidence will be lower than ever.
Until she hears about the final verdict of her suspension, the 29-year-old tennis player is using the extra time to relax and to plot her comeback.
“Maria Sharapova, 29, is clearly keeping herself occupied – as she proved when she was spotted out in New York on Friday morning,” reports the Daily Mail. “The blonde beauty, 29, cut a solitary figure as she stepped out alone in Manhattan, where she enjoyed some alone time. Going for a low-key approach, the tennis player wore a pair of lace shorts to help herself cope in the city’s infamously hot summer weather.”
What’s more, there may be a special someone in the Russian beauty’s life. She has been spotted with Andres Velencoso, a 38-year-old Spanish model, just a few months ago. They were looking pretty intimate, according to Tennis World USA.
“Maria Sharapova and the Spanish model Andrés Velencoso were in Paris for marketing reasons (Masha for her candy brand, Sugarpova), and decided to spend a little time together,” the report said. “Velencoso split with the 26-year old actor Ursula Corberò at the end of 2015, while Masha split with Dimitrov almost a year ago.”
Check out Andres on Twitter!
While she has not posted any pictures with Andres Velencoso on Instagram or Twitter, there is a high chance that much of her positivity is due to the fact that she has a new love in her life.
She also has been training like a fiend wherever she goes so that she will be ready for Serena Williams when she makes it back on the court. Check out the most recent picture of Maria training!
Quick pit stop to check out the Florida summers ☀️ pic.twitter.com/Tf69wjgYnE— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) August 14, 2016
Do you think Andres Velencoso will play a big role in the comeback of Maria Sharapova? Do you think her suspension will be lifted? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo by Aaron Favila/AP Images]