Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Tennis Star Sharapova To Return As UN Goodwill Ambassador

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will return as a UN goodwill ambassador next year.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be allowed to resume her role as a United Nations goodwill ambassador when her drug suspension ends in April, the UN said on November 10.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova became an ambassador for the UN Development Program in 2007 but was dropped in March after admitting she had used the banned substance meldonium.

Sharapova, 29, who lives in the United States, was originally banished from the sport for two years, but her suspension was later reduced to 15 months.

As a goodwill ambassador, Sharapova was active in helping recovery efforts from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. She made visits to Belarus and donated $100,000 to support youth projects in rural areas that suffered from the aftereffects of Chernobyl.

Sharapova's family fled the city of Gomel in Belarus in 1987 after the disaster, moving to Siberia, where the tennis sensation was born.

Her family lived in Nyagan, Siberia, for two years and then moved to Sochi on the Black Sea, where Sharapova had her first tennis lessons.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters