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Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for using a prohibited drug.
Sharapova tested positive for an abolished heart disease drug called meldonium at the January Australian open and has been temporarily suspended from the sport.
The 29-year-old admitted to have been used the drug since 2006 because of heart problems and did not know it has been prohibited since January 1 .
Sharapova therefore stated she “cannot accept” the “unfairly harsh” ban and will appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The five-time Grand Slam winner also said that she knew the drug by the mildronate therefore her offence was unintentional also not for performance enhancing reasons.
The former world number one added “I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.”
From the point of view tribunal, Sharapova tested positive before and after she was ousted in the quarter-finals by Serena Williams at the Australian Open in January.
However the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in April said that Scientists were uncertain of how long the drug stayed in her system also suggesting that athletes could escape ban if the drug had not been used before the banned date, January 1.
The ITF’s verdict recognizes Sharapova did not deliberately break the anti-doping rules but blamed the Russian Federation stating that they were “the sole author of her own misfortune” as she had “failed to take any steps to check whether continued use of the medicine was permissible“.
Meanwhile there could be hope for Sharapova as WADA said it would “review the decision, including its reasoning” and decide whether to appeal.
Sharapova is the most successful Russian in Tennis, at 17, she became the first Russian to win Wimbledon in 2004 and two years on she added the US Open in 2006 coupled with the Australian Open in 2008, before completing a career Grand Slam with the French Open title in 2012.