Sharapova on course for Rio

Maria Sharapova will qualify for the Rio Olympics after the Russian Tennis Federation found a loophole in the eligibility process.

When Russia take on the Netherlands in the Fed Cup this weekend, Sharapova will be present, however, she will likely not participate as she is still recovering from a forearm injury she sustained in her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Serena Williams earlier this month.

“I’m going to go to Moscow, to be part of the team but I don’t think I’ll be playing,” she said.

Under qualification rules, a player must be nominated three times in an Olympic cycle in order to be eligible for the Games in Rio in August. So far, the 28-year-old star has featured in just two ties since 2012.

However, one can be nominated without having to play and that is exactly why Sharapova is in Moscow for the week.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed this.

“The Olympic tennis event qualification regulations require a player to be in the nominated Fed Cup team at the time of the draw on three occasions,” a spokesman told AFP on the eve of the draw for the tie.

“A player does not need to play a match.”

Sharapova will be desperate to make it to Rio to improve on her silver medal she won at the London Olympics in 2012.