Sharapova faces 2-year tennis ban

One News Page Staff

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by 👨‍💻 Graham Pierrepoint

As the tennis calendar begins to hot up and attention starts to draw towards Wimbledon – arguably the centerpoint of the year for many professional players – there have been a number of big stories emerge in recent weeks that have provided a knock-on effect for the tournament and what we are to expect. British No 1 Andy Murray split from long-term coach Amelie Mauresmo earlier this year, and both men’s tennis mainstays Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have both recently been beset by injury – with the former having to resign from Wimbledon entirely this year. One of the most shocking stories in recent days, however, has been related to that of five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova, who has been given a two-year ban from the sport after failing a drugs test.

According to The Independent, Sharapova failed the test at the Australian Open earlier this year – after traces of meldonium – medicine used to treat heart conditions – was found in her bloodstream. The World Anti-Doping Agency had only recently added the drug to its list of banned substances, on account of its ability to enhance endurance – making it performance-enhancing for a wide range of sports.

While Sharapova has avoided the maximum term for such an offence and it has remained difficult for specialists to be able to trace how long meldonium has been in a person’s bloodstream for, the two-year ban is to run until early 2018 due to the term being backdated to when the drug was detected. Sharapova has maintained her innocence and it has been reported that she will be appealing against the decision and the sentencing, publicly stating that she had been taking meldonium legally as a result of a doctor’s recommendation. The tennis champion stated that the substance had only been placed on the banned list recently, and that she had in fact been taking the drug for around ten years as a result of her doctor’s advice.

As and when Sharapova will contest the sentencing remains to be seen, but it has been stated that a number of her sponsorships will stand by the star as discussion over the decision continues. As it happens, the forthcoming Wimbledon championships promise to be extraordinary, with a number of key players and stars missing from this year’s brackets. As to who will win the spoils in either the women’s or men’s tournaments, however, will remain to be seen.