Maria Sharapova will figure again in the WTA rankings after she has taken part in three tournaments next year, a senior Russian Tennis Federation official has said. The former world No 1 is currently serving a doping ban that led to her name being dropped from the official rankings list.
"Sharapova's departure from the WTA rankings list is a matter of technical detail,” RTF Vice President Alexei Selivanenko said. "She needs to take part in at least three tournaments in order to regain her stance in the ranking list.
"She lost the minimal required quota (to stay in the ranking list) of three tournaments since she had not played since the beginning of this year.
"However, she will resume playing next year and, as soon she competes in three tournaments, she will be back in the ranking list. There are no doubts that she will be granted wild cards from tournaments' organisers and she will return to the ranking list.”
The 29-year-old Russian ace is eligible to officially return to the tennis courts on April 26 next year after her two-year suspension for doping violation since Jan 26 this year was reduced to 15 months by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport on Oct 4.
The ban forced the 2012 London Olympic silver medallist to miss the Rio Games in August.
The closest grand slam on her return will be the French Open in May-June which she won in 2012 and 2014, and the five-time grand slam singles winner will be hoping for a wild card owing to insufficient time to earn enough tournament points for a direct entry.