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Maria Sharapova's ex-coach Nick Bollettieri hopes tennis star will play again

Maria Sharapova's former coach Nick Bollettieri hopes that the tennis authorities will allow the Russian to play again after admitting that she failed a drug test.

Maria Sharapova's former coach Nick Bollettieri has claimed that he hopes that the tennis authorities will allow the Russian pro to play again, despite failing a drug test.

The 28-year-old revealed in a press conference on Monday evening that she had tested positive for meldonium after losing to Serena Williams at the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova claimed that she had been taking the prescribed medicine for 10 years, but was unaware that the substance was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of performance-enhancing substances at the start of 2016.

The International Tennis Federation will provisionally suspend Sharapova from March 12, and despite the five-time Grand Slam champion facing a four-year ban, Bollettieri is hopeful that she will play again.

The coach told BBC Radio 4 that he was shocked by Sharapova's admission because "she has always been above board in everything".

He added: "She said she took these for many, many years and then didn't read the memorandum that came out. She said she will accept the consequences, but she hopes and prays that she can be allowed to play again. What else can you say?

"I don't think that Maria Sharapova would continue doing something, especially being in the limelight, if there was something she knew about.

"It's kind of tough to find a black mark against her. She certainly does not want to go out of tennis in this way."

Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and sportswear giant Nike have ended their sponsorship deals with Sharapova.

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Maria Sharapova at a press conference on March 7, 2016
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