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Sharapova Gets Two-year Suspension For Positive Drug Test

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

The decision is in and Maria Sharapova will face a two-year suspension for testing positive for the banned substance, meldonium. In early March Maria Sharapova announced to the world that she tested positive for the drug that alleviates heart problems and increases oxygen circulation.

Sharapova stated that she was unaware that the drug she was taking for ten years for medical purposes became a banned substance as of the beginning of 2016. Sharapova was soon suspended until she was to face her hearing and await the decision of a tribunal.

In a previous article about Sharapova, it said the decision would be made by the International Tennis Federation, ITF. However, an independent tribunal decided the fate of Sharapova. Though many had inclinations on the length of time Sharapova would be banned, it was anyone’s guess. Now there is no need for guessing with the tribunal deciding on a two year suspension, which retroactively includes the months since March.

After her admittance, there was heavy speculation as to whether or not Maria would face any time at all (besides the provisional suspension until the hearing for the decision). This was in large part due to medical reports that stated meldonium stays in the body for months and that it was quite possible that those who discontinued their use of the drug before it became a banned substance could still have traces left in their body.Many tennis experts believed this could be the saving grace to prevent a lengthy suspension prior to the decision and now that the decision has been made by the tribunal this might be what Sharapova uses as a grounds for appeal.

Ever since Sharapova admitted her mistake, reactions have been split. There are players like Andy Murray who believe that no one is exempt from the rules even an elite player like Maria Sharapova, who has won multiple slams and was crowned the highest paid female athlete for several years. Maria has since given that crown to Serena Williams after being dropped by major sponsors like Nike, Porsche and watch brand Tag Heuer due to this scandal. Though not quite on Sharapova’s side, tennis icon Billie Jean King believed that people should wait until all the facts were out before rushing to judgement.

After the decision, Sharapova released her own statement on the official suspension stating her intentions to appeal. Sharapova states that the ruling was “harsh” and “unfair” being that taking the drug was unintentional and that the ITF agreed it was unintentional. Sharapova alluded to the ITF’s intense desire to find that she knowingly took meldonium and that they wanted to suspend her for four years.

A great deal of questions hangs in limbo as a result of today’s decision.

Sharapova is one of the most recognizable faces on the tour and with Serena playing so few tournaments, many might be wondering can the WTA afford to lose one of its biggest stars. Then a question has to be asked of where does this leave Sharapova. Money wise, Sharapova will be fine but what about her game? How will her game recover after her two years her over?

If the suspension holds, Maria will be just about to turn 31 when she is eligible to return. Although the tennis world is seeing many players have success in their 30s it will still be a daunting task for Sharapova to return to top form.

This is indeed a sad day for tennis but the positive is that the sport is committed to being clean and that everyone despite their accomplishments and high earnings will be held to the same standard.

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Ricardo is the lead Tennis Analyst here at
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