Sharapova's failed drugs test is 'nonsense', says RTF president


Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) president Shamil Tarpischev believes Maria Sharapova could still play at the Olympic Games in Rio later this year after labelling the former world number one's failed doping test as "nonsense".

Sharapova stunned the sporting world on Monday, revealing she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open in January, having been notified by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The five-time grand-slam champion said she had been taking Meldonium for a decade due to health reasons and had not realised the substance was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances as of the start of this year.

However, outspoken Russian Tarpischev remains hopeful of having the 28-year-old at the Games in Rio in August.

"I think that it's nonsense. Athletes take what their physiotherapists advise them," Tarpischev told TASS.

"I believe that Sharapova will still have a chance to play at the Olympics though we will see how things are going to develop."

Tarpischev is no stranger to controversy, having landed himself in hot water for comments made about Serena and Venus Williams in 2014.

The 68-year-old was fined $25,000 and suspended from WTA Tour involvement for a year after calling the American pair the "Williams brothers" on a Russian television show.