ITF: Sharapova’s Olympic substitution deadline set for July 18

RTF president Shamil Tarpishchev earlier said that Maria Sharapova, who's in Russia's tennis squad for the Rio Olympics, would be replaced if she is disqualified by the ITF.

Maria Sharapova is suspended from tennis following a failed drug test.   -  AP

Russian tennis authorities will be able to substitute tennis star Maria Sharapova from their 2016 Olympics entry list before July 18 if she is disqualified by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the world’s governing body of tennis said on Friday.

Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) president Shamil Tarpishchev earlier said that Maria Sharapova, who's in Russia's tennis squad for the Rio Olympics, would be replaced if she is disqualified by the ITF.

“Substitutions can be made up until the sport entries deadline of 18 July if the player being substituted is eligible and also within the ranking cut-off for the event,” the ITF press service said in a statement on Friday.

“National federations have to confirm the entry of eligible players to the ITF by 16 June.”

In early March, Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles that her doping tests revealed she took a performance enhancing drug, Meldonium.

Following the announcement, the former world no.1 was suspended from tennis.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced on April 13 that the concentration of less than one microgram of Meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable.

The ITF announced last month that the tribunal would take into account recent recommendations made by WADA while reviewing Sharapova’s doping abuse case.

The drug Meldonium was included in the list of preparations banned by WADA from January 1, 2016.

The Russian Tennis Federation announced on Wednesday that besides Sharapova, three more players (women) -- Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavliuchenkova and Darya Kasatkina -- will be in the team’s entry list for the Olympics.