After testing positive for meldonium, Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years by the Tennis Federation. She plans to appeal the decision.
If her taking the drugs were intentional, she could have been suspended for four years but they ruled she didn’t take it intentionally so the rules state she could only be suspended two years.
“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova said. “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.”(ESPN)
Sharapova had hoped to play for the Russian team in the Rio Olympics but Ekaterina Makarova will now replace her.
In March, she was provisionally suspended for a failed test before the Australian Open. She claims she had been taking mildronate since 2006. It is also known as meldonium which became a banned substance as of January 1.
In an out-of-competition in Moscow on February 2, she failed a test for meldonium as well.
Sharapova said she had started using the drug, under a doctor’s guidance a decade ago because of irregular electrocardiogram results.
Her doctors records show she stopped seeing them in 2013 but kept taking the substance.
The sentence will be retroactive to the Australian Open, she will sit out through the 2018 Australian Open.
A five-time major winner, Sharapova’s last big win came at the 2014 French Open. She hasn’t played since a quarterfinal loss to Serena Williams at the Australian Open and is ranked 26th this week.
The tribunal’s ruling, as long as it’s not reversed on appeal, could be worth a lot of money to Sharapova because of the finding that her use wasn’t performance-enhancing. When she announced her positive test, her endorsement deals with Nike and Porsche were suspended.
Her endorsers, Evian and Head, have continued using her, while watchmaker Tag Heuer elected not to renew its deal. Nike and Porsche were suspended when she announced her positive test. Because of it not being a performance-enhancing drug it could be worth a lot of money. But, could be cost her candy land Sugarpova.