Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova has been suspended from tennis for two years for violating anti-doping requirements. The period of ineligibility starts on January 26, 2016. This was announced on Wednesday on the official website of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Earlier, the media wrote that the ex-first racket of the world and five-time winner of the Grand Slam tournaments in singles will face a four-year disqualification.
Thus, now Sharapova cannot take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The ITF decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne within 21 days.
As the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTR) Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS, the organization will support the tennis player’s decision to challenge the disqualification, in his opinion, it is possible to shorten its term. “Moreover, it will be possible to take into account the impeccable behavior of Sharapova and the prescriptions of doctors for the use of this drug. [мельдония]”, – he added.
The captain of the Russian national tennis team, Anastasia Myskina, in a commentary to the R-sport publication admitted that the news of Sharapova’s disqualification is “very bad for all tennis fans” and “we should hope for an appeal against the decision”.
On March 7, Sharapova announced at a specially convened press conference that the illegal drug meldonium was found in her doping sample taken during the 2016 Australian Open. The Russian tennis player has been temporarily suspended from all tournaments since March 12.
Subsequently, sponsors began to break advertising contracts with Sharapova. Among them are the German automobile concern Porsche, the Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, and the American sportswear manufacturer Nike. Later, the management of the company – manufacturer of rackets Head announced that it intends to extend the agreement with the tennis player.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in April allowed the content of less than 1 microgram of meldonium per 1 milliliter in doping samples of athletes taken before March 1, 2016. The agency also left the decision to temporarily disqualify athletes for international federations if the concentration of the substance in the doping sample, taken before March 1, 2016 is between 1 and 15 μg, or if a doping sample taken after March 1 has a concentration of less than 1 μg.