Suspended tennis star Maria Sharapova has been excluded from the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings as the Russian has not competed in enough tournaments in 2016 to be eligible for a ranking position.
As per WTA regulations, to maintain a place in the rankings, a player should take part in a minimum of three tournaments and accumulate at least 10 ranking points in the previous 52 weeks. Sharapova has played only the Australian Open this season where she was beaten by rival Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.
The latest rankings released by the WTA do not include Sharapova's name but in a list that came out last week, the Russian was ranked 93 in the world. Germany's Angelique Kerber leads the list while American Serena Williams is placed second.
Aleksey Selivanenko, vice-president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), called the player's admission a mere technicality, claiming that he is confident that the five-time Grand Slam winner will return to the rankings in 2017.
"The fact that Sharapova was not in the ratings is simply a technicality. In order to be ranked you need to play in at least three tournaments. Because Sharapova has not played from the beginning of the year she has not competed in the obligatory minimum number of tournaments, therefore she came out of the rankings," Selivanenko said, as quoted by rt.com.
"But next year she will resume her participation and as soon as she plays in her first three tournaments, she will immediately return to the ratings. That she will be given a wildcard by the organisers and quickly return to the ratings, I'm sure this will happen."
The 29-year-old, who failed a drug test at the Australian Open this year for taking the banned drug meldonium, was initially banned for two years. However, the ban was reduced to 15 months after lodging an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).