Maria Sharapova, once one of the brightest lights in tennis, was provisionally banned from the sport in March after testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January.
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The heart disease drug has been banned since January 2016, but the 29-year old Russian says that she has been taking it for health issues since 2006.
The Independent Tribunal determined that "(1) Ms. Sharapova should serve a period of ineligibility of two years; (2) due to her prompt admission of her violation, that period of ineligibility should be back-dated under Article 10.10.3(b) of the Programme to commence from 26 January 2016 (the date of sample collection) and so should end at midnight on 25 January 2018; and (3) her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified, with resulting forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that she won at that event."
Sharapova has won the Grand Slam 5 times and has been a true icon in the sport. Now she "cannot accept" the "unfairly harsh" ban and she will appeal it. she is doing this because she believes that her offense was "unintentional" and that she wasn't using it to enhance her performance.
The London 2012 Olympic silver medalist reached out to fans as well: "I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans... your love and support has gotten me through these tough days. 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."
The ITF will not appeal against the tribunal's decision.
Nike has said that it will continue to work with the athlete, who was the highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years until 2016.
At 17, Sharapova became the first Russian to win Wimbledon in 2004, and added the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008, and the French Open title in 2012.
The World Anti-Doping Agency did say that athletes who tested positive before March 1, 2016, could appeal their bans because it wasn't sure how long it could stay in their systems. However, Sharapova admitted that she used the drug (unintentionally) beyond that date. This was because she knew it as another name, mildronate.
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Meanwhile, Wada said it would "review the decision, including its reasoning" and decide whether to appeal.