Sharapova Gets 2-Year Doping Ban
Tennis star says she'll appeal, calls ruling 'unfairly harsh'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2016 10:58 AM CDT
This is a March 7, 2016 file photo showing tennis star Maria Sharapova speakingsabout her failed drug test at the Australia Open.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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(Newser) – Maria Sharapova has been suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation for testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open. The ruling, announced Wednesday, can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, reports the AP. Sharapova quickly released a statement via Facebook saying she would appeal and that "the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional." The five-time Grand Slam champion was provisionally suspended by the ITF in early March, when she announced at a news conference in Los Angeles that she failed a doping test in January.

Sharapova said then she was not aware that the World Anti-Doping Agency had barred athletes from using meldonium, also known as mildronate, as of Jan. 1. Her lawyer, John Haggerty, says Sharapova took the substance after that date. Sharapova said she first was prescribed the Latvian-made drug, typically used for heart conditions, for medical reasons in 2006.