Maria Sharapova could return to the tennis court as early as January according to Russian Tennis Federation President, Shamil Tarpishchev.

Sharapova was suspended from the game for two years earlier this year, after she tested positive to banned substance, meldonium at this year's Australian Open.

The former world No.1 appealed her sanction immediately, but her appeal will not be heard until September.

However, despite the initial two year ban, Tarpishchev believes Sharapova could return to the circuit as early as January next year.

"Everything will be decided in September. It is impossible to say for certain but I think she will start playing again by January," Tarpishchev said in an interview with the TASS news agency on Monday.