Sharapova admitted taking the drug Meldonium, saying she had been using it since 2006, but didn’t realize it had become banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016.
Now, three months later the International Tennis Federation has handed down it’s punishment and it is SEVERE.
Maria Sharapova was just hit with a TWO YEAR BAN by the International Tennis Federation for doping … but she claims it’s “unfair” and vows to appeal.
The ITF just issued a statement saying Sharapova’s urine tested positive for meldonium — a metabolic modulator that’s prohibited in the sport.
The ITF says it cut Sharapova a break when it comes to the punishment because she “promptly admitted” to the offense. Instead of starting the 2-year ban today, they will backdate the suspension to January 26 — the date of the sample collection.
The ITF also ruled that her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified — and she must forfeit her ranking points and prize money that she won at that event.
In a statement Sharapova said that the ITF initially asked for a FOUR-YEAR ban – the required suspension for an intentional violation – but because it was proven that she did not knowingly violate the drug policy they reduced it to two years.
Sharapova also stated that she “cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension” and plans to file an appeal immediately.
Should this ban stand, Sharapova, now 29-years-old, could have a very hard time coming back at the same level she was at prior to the ban. Stay tuned.