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    Russia includes suspended Maria Sharapova on provisional tennis team for Rio Olympics

    May 27, 2016
    Russian tennis officials say should Sharapova not be cleared in time for Rio, she will be replaced by the next highest ranked player. AP

    MOSCOW — Russia has included Maria Sharapova on its preliminary team for the Olympic tennis tournament in August despite her provisional suspension for failing a drug test.

    Sharapova has been suspended since March after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January, but the Russian Tennis Federation hopes she could be cleared in time to play in Rio de Janeiro.

    Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev tells the Tass news agency that Sharapova was on a preliminary squad list, "but if she isn't able to compete, then the next-highest player on the ranking list will go into the team."

    Russia can send up to four players for the women's singles tournament but currently has seven players in the world's top 56, the cutoff point for qualifying for the Olympics.

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    Russian tennis officials say should Sharapova not be cleared in time for Rio, she will be replaced by the next highest ranked player. AP
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