Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is unlikely to play this summer at the WTA Moscow River Cup tournament due to her tight game schedule, but talks on the issue continue, Alexander Ostrovsky, the tournament’s director, said on Tuesday.
The WTA (Women Tennis Association) tournament in the Russian capital will be held between July 23 and 29 on the open clay courts of the National Tennis Center of Juan Antonio Samaranch. The Moscow River Cup offers $750,000 up for grabs in prize money.
"We have been in negotiations with Sharapova and her agent and as of today we still have no final answer and it certainly disappoints us," Ostrovsky said speaking at a news conference in TASS. "However, we still cherish hopes to invite her, will hold more talks in next two months and only then I will be able to tell you the final result."
"Today her game schedule has no window for taking part in the tournament in Russia," Ostrovsky said. "Sharapova’s participation in any tournament attracts spectators and we understand it very well and will do everything possible to see that the talks are success."
The tournament’s director added that the organizers of the Moscow River Cup are also in talks to invite US tennis star Serena Williams.
Sharapova is Russia’s most well-known tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006. She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.
After the 15-month long suspension, imposed in 2016 for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April last year.
Last October, Sharapova won the 2017 WTA Tianjin Open in China and it was her first tournament to win since May 2015.