Maria Sharapova's reaction on the two-year suspension
Maria Sharapova was suspended for two years from Tennis by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on 8 June 2016 for using a prohibited drug. She will remain under suspension for two years, commencing on 26 January 2016.
The Russian tennis sensation was provisionally banned in March 2016 after testing positive for meldonium at Australian Open in January 2016.
Meldonium is a metabolic modulator that is included under section S4 (Hormone and Metabolic Modulators) of the 2016 WADA Prohibited List, and therefore is also prohibited under the Programme.
She was suspended for two years, after an Independent Tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme found that Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme.
Decisions of the independent Tribunal
• Sharapova should serve a period of ineligibility of two years.
• Due to her prompt admission of her violation, that period of ineligibility should be back-dated under Article 10.10.3(b) of the Programme to commence from 26 January 2016 (the date of sample collection) and so should end at midnight on 25 January 2018.
• Her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that she won at that event.
Sharapova on the suspension
The five-time Grand Slam winner said she cannot accept the unfairly harsh ban and will appeal against it. She will now challenge the suspension, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In a statement, she said the tribunal concluded her offence was "unintentional" and that she had not tried to use a "performance enhancing substance".
The tribunal ruling said Sharapova also tested positive for meldonium in an out-of competition test, as well as in the aftermath of her Australian Open quarter-final defeat in January. Tribunal treated both results as a single anti-doping violation.
29-year-old Sharapova says that meldonium for which she was suspended was a part of a heart disease drug, which she has been taking since 2006 for health issues. The substance was banned by ITF on 1 January 2016.
Tennis Anti-Doping Programme
The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP, and WTA. Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and, upon a finding that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed; sanctions are imposed under the Programme in compliance with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code.