Sharapova's flawless reputation behind CAS ruling - RTF president


Shamil Tarpischev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), believes Maria Sharapova's "flawless reputation" was behind the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) decision to reduce her doping ban.

The five-time grand slam champion was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years until January 2018 after testing positive for banned substance meldonium.

However, Sharapova claimed that she was unaware the drug, which helps treat heart disease, had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list in January and CAS opted to shorten her sanction by nine months, freeing the Russian to return to action in April 2017.

Tarpischev now hopes that Sharapova is able to overcome the "psychological stress" caused by her ban and resume her career at the top.

"I think that the fact that Maria has a flawless reputation, that she is an outstanding sportswoman, a cult figure for the younger generation, and that this was not her direct mistake, but mostly a mistake by her management contributed (to the CAS decision)," he told reporters.

"We hope that she will be able to overcome the psychological stress that she experienced and will rightfully become one of the elite of the strongest and will defend the country's honour."

Sharapova and her lawyer John Haggerty were both critical of the ITF following the ruling from CAS, with the latter claiming the governing body's initial decision was "pure fiction".

Tarpischev also added his belief that justice has only been "partially" served, but warned that Sharapova's case is different to that faced by other Russian athletes.

"We believe that this moment is optimal for the decision that was made. Justice has been restored partially," he added. 

"But it is hard to say if it serves as an example for the others because the violations there were different. 

"And I believe that the issues raised by the International Olympic Committee on re-organising WADA are very acute."