Maria Sharapova’s suspension has been significantly cut down.
The former world No. 1’s suspension was cut from a two-year ban to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, reports CNN.com. Sharapova received the ban in January after testing positive for the banned substance Meldonium. Sharapova claimed the substance came from a prescribed prescription of Mildronate tablets. The ruling from CAS stated while Sharapova was with “no significant fault,” she bore some responsibility for the failed test, hence the reduction.
Sharapova released a statement expressing excitement about potentially returning to tennis when the suspension is lifted in April.
“I’ve gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April,” she said in a statement.
Sharapova expressed disappointment in the International Tennis Federation for calling her PED use unintentional, yet still wasting resources and time proving she intentionally violed anti-doping rules.
“I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last ten years was no longer allowed. But I also learned how much better other Federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where Mildronate is commonly taken by millions of people.
The case is still a tricky one, but having Sharapova’s suspension reduced is probably a fair ruling. It appears she inadvertently took Meldonium, so while she’s at fault, there’s a difference between ignorance and cheating. Sharapova’s suspension will be lifted April 2017, just ahead of the French Open.