Sharapova to fight drugs ban

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The Russian star, who made her name by winning Wimbledon at the age of 17, will sit through the grass-court tournaments waiting to see whether her appeal against a two-year doping ban has been successful.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed Tuesday that Sharapova is appealing a suspension for using meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned list in 2016.

“Ms. Sharapova submits that the period of ineligibility should be eliminated, or in the alternative, reduced,” CAS said in a statement.

“It has not been decided whether or not a hearing would be held in this matter. At the request of the parties, this arbitration procedure will be kept confidential.”

CAS said it will rule on the five-time major champion’s appeal by July 18.

The date offers hope to Sharapova that, if her appeal is successful, she will be able to compete for Russia at August’s 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won silver in the singles at London 2012.

Sharapova has not played since losing the Australian Open quarterfinal to rival Serena Williams in January. In March, it emerged that the 29-year-old had failed a drugs test at the Melbourne major.

Sharapova claimed she had been taking meldonium since 2006 for heart issues, a magnesium deficiency and because her family has a history of diabetes.

She explained she simply failed to read an email that stated meldonium, which can boost endurance and aid physical recovery, would be added to the banned list on January 1, 2016.

If CAS sticks with the two-year sanction, Sharapova won’t be eligible to come back until January 2018.

“I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans,” she has said.

“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 fight will now begin behind the closed doors of the appeal court.



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