Sharapova finally handed punishment over doping scandal

Maria Sharapova has been handed a two year suspension by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open earlier this year.

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.

In a statement the ITF says the 29-year-old’s ban will be backdated to January 26 this year, meaning her results and prize money from the Australian Open, where she reached the quarter-finals, will be cancelled.


The ruling can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sharapova has declared she will fight the ruling, describing the punishment as unfairly harsh.

When the doping scandal first emerged, Sharapova claimed she was not aware meldonium, also known as mildronate, had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances as of January 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.