Maria Sharapova has just been suspended by the International Tennis Federation for drug use but is looking to appeal on basis of unfairness.
The ITF just issued a statement saying Sharapova’s urine tested positive for meldonium — a metabolic modulator that’s prohibited in the sport.
The ITF says it gave Sharapova a break when it comes to the punishment because she “promptly admitted” to the offense. Instead of starting the 2-year ban today, they will postpone the suspension to January 26 , which was the date of the sample collection.
The ITF also ruled that her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified and she must forfeit her ranking points and prize money that she won at that event.
Sharapova says she did NOT intentionally use the substance and wants her fans to know she should not be considered a cheater.
“The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not,” Sharapova said in a statement.
“You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation — and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.”
Sharapova says she will fight the decision — “I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension … I will immediately appeal the suspension.”
“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.”