Maria Sharapova Receives Two-Year Tennis BAN

Published on June 9, 2016

MARIA SHARAPOVA has been banned from playing tennis professionally for two years after failing a drug test in January (16).

Maria Sharapova

The five-time Grand Slam tennis champion was suspended from the sport earlier this year (16) after testing positive for the drug Meldonium, which had recently been banned, at the Australian Open tournament.

Sharapova announced the news at a Los Angeles press conference in March (16), admitting she had received an email from officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about new prohibited substances in December (15), but failed to check the updated list and was unaware her prescription medication Mildronate, which can boost an athlete’s endurance and aid in rehabilitation, was also known as Meldonium.

On Wednesday (08Jun16), the Russian athlete received a two-year suspension from officials at the International Tennis Federation.

“Today with their decision of a two year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional,” she writes on Facebook.com. “The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance enhancing substance.

“The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not. You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation – and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.”

Maria Sharapova

But Maria still plans to fight the ban, which she calls “unfairly harsh”, adding, “The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

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