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Banned Sharapova could return in January - tennis chief

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Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks during a news conference at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia on January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo
Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks during a news conference at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia on January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Five-times grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, banned in June for two years for doping offences, may be allowed to return in January, according to Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) president Shamil Tarpishchev.

"Everything will be decided in September. It is impossible to say for certain but I think she will start playing again by January," Tarpishchev was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency on Monday. 

Former world number one Sharapova, 29, was suspended following a positive test for the banned drug meldonium during January's Australian Open.

In July, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said a ruling on her case would be held on Sept. 19.

(Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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