Russian tennis giant and former number one player Maria Sharapova was suspended from tennis for two years on Wednesday for testing positive for ‘melodonium’ at the Australian Open in January. The ban will end on January, 2018, as her test was conducted in January this year.
The ruling by an independent three-person panel appointed by the International Tennis Federation said Sharapova did not intend to cheat because she didn’t know meldonium was banned, but that she bore “sole responsibility” and “very significant fault” for the positive test. Meldonium increases blood flow, which improves exercise capacity by carrying more oxygen to the muscles.
The five-time Grand Slam champion was provisionally suspended by the ITF in early March, when she announced at a news conference in Los Angeles that she failed a doping test in January. – abplive reported.
The ban means she will miss this year’s Wimbledon championship and the Rio Olympics. Sharapova was found with ‘significant quantities’ of meldonium in her system at Wimbledon 2015, although it was then legal. She said that she had been taking it for 10 years after being prescribed it by her family doctor for a range of ailments, from heart irregularities to a family history of diabetes.
Sharapova later released a statement of her own on Facebook, revealing she intends to appeal the ban.