Maria Sharapova is plotting to enjoy the height of her tennis career like before she was banned from the game. She was suspended from competing in tennis games after she was tested positive for using meldonium, a newly banned substance, missing the French Open, Wimbledon, and this year’s Olympic Games.
But that doesn’t mean that the female athlete, who used to have the highest net worth in the industry, is giving up on all her tennis hopes and dreams. Despite her suspension, the Russian player is still training hard.
Her Instagram and Twitter accounts have been full of pictures of her training. Right after the suspension, she tended to inundate her social media accounts with pictures from music festivals, her sessions with Harvard Business School, and partying with her friends. However, after hinting her return in January, the 29-year-old tennis player is ready to show the world she is ready to return to the height of her career and net worth.
In fact, the president of Russian Tennis Federation has even speculated that she will be back on the court in 2017.
“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 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,” he said.
While January 2017 return will be much shorter than the originally set two-year ban, Maria must feel antsy after getting her expedited appeal delayed.
“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.'”
This meant that she could not campaign for a gold medal, an opportunity which comes only once every four years. The next time she will be able to compete for one will be in Tokyo 2020. She will be 33 then.
While waiting to hear back from the tennis governing body, Maria Sharapova has been keeping herself occupied with various things that she could not do when she played professional tennis. To avoid having to think about the Olympics that she was missing, she treated her family to a Barcelona vacation.
She also has been getting to know a suitor, Andrés Velencoso.
“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,” reports Tennis World USA. “Velencoso split with the 26-year old actor Ursula Corberò at the end of 2015, while Masha split with Dimitrov almost a year ago.”
Despite all the methods she has used to keep herself busy, Maria Sharapova may be battling intense depression and doubts as she moves through this tough time for her.
“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Maria wrote on her Facebook page when she first received her suspension. “The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
When she returns to the court, do you think Maria Sharapova will be able to return to the height of her tennis career? Will she be able to get her net worth at its highest level again? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo by Rick Rycroft/AP Images]