Maria Sharapova Suspended for Two Years After Failed Drug Test
A panel appointed by the International Tennis Federation announced a two-year suspension for Maria Sharapova following her failed drug test in January. Sharapova immediately responded by saying she would appeal the sentence.
"I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension," she wrote on her Facebook page (see full post below). "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 CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport."
In January, Sharapova had tested positive for meldonium, which had recently been added to the banned-substance list by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Sharapova admitted she had taken meldonium -- she began using meldonium in 2006 to treat a heart condition -- but did not know it had been banned at the time she took it. The three-person tribunal agreed that what she did was not intentional, but yet still said she bore "sole responsibility."
Sharapova, 29, is one of the most popular tennis players in the world, a five-time Grand Slam winner following her French Open victory in 2012. That title secured her a career Grand Slam, having won Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. She is one of only 10 women ever to achieve that milestone.