Sharapova banned for two years by ITF

June 8, 2016

Former world number one Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova has been banned from competition for 2 years by by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for banned drug meldonium at this year’s Australian Open.

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In a statement the ITF said the 29-year-old five-times grand slam champion’s ban would be back-dated to Jan. 26 2016, meaning her results from the Australian Open where she reached the quarter-finals, would be disqualified.

“An Independent Tribunal appointed under Article 8.1 of the 2016 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has found that Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, commencing on 26 January 2016,” the ITF said in a statement.

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Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid female athlete, stunned the sporting world in March when she announced that she had tested positive for meldonium, a drug she said she had been taking for a decade to treat diabetes and low magnesium.

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of banned substances at the start of the year after evidence that it boosted blood flow and enhanced athletic performance.

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The ban means she’ll miss this year’s Wimbledon championships, the title she won as a teenager to launch her career in 2014.

Sharapova has 35 WTA singles titles and has won all four of the sport’s grand slam titles.

Her career earnings amount to $36 million while her off-court earnings, according to Forbes, are around $200 million.

 

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