Maria Sharapova Pushes For Appeal Of Drug Suspension Ahead Of Rio Games
Maria Sharapova officially appealed her two-year ban from tennis Tuesday, in the sports world’s highest court.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland, heard the case yesterday and agreed to an “expedited procedure” that will render a ruling by July 18 at the latest, leaving the door open for the 29 year-old to participate in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, should she win the appeal.
Currently ranked 34th in the world, according to the most recent Women’s Tennis Association rankings, Sharapova won silver for Russia at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
MARIA SHARAPOVA ADMITS TO FAILING TEST
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Sharapova was suspended by the International Tennis Federation in early March, but the announcement was not made public until the Russian native called a press conference to address the suspension March 7 in Los Angeles, attempting to explain why she failed the screening.
“A few days ago I received a letter from the ITF that I had failed a drug test at the Australian Open,” Sharapova said from the podium at The LA Hotel Downtown back in March. “I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it.”
Despite those sentiments, not a moment later, Sharapova attempted to justify her positive test.
“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine, called mildronate, by my doctor, by my family doctor and a few days ago, after I received the ITF letter, I found out that it also has another name of meldonium,” Sharapova told reporters. “It’s very important for you to understand this medicine was not on (the World Anti-Doping Association’s) banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years.”
The suspension of a five-time Grand-Slam champion, whom has also held the world’s No. 1 ranking on five ccassions, sent shockwaves through the tennis world.
MARIA SHARAPOVA’S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Although the ITF’s three-person, independent panel said they did not believe Sharapova intended to break the rules, they found she bore “sole responsibility” with “very significant fault” for the test’s positive result.
Sharapova’s attorney, John Haggerty, feels confident his client will at least have her suspension reduced.
“The ITF Tribunal concluded she had no intent to do anything wrong, and she thinks a two-year suspension is unfairly harsh,” Haggerty said, via ESPN.com.
Not everyone agrees with Sharapova and her attorney.
One of the most recognizable faces in Men’s Tennis, Andy Murray, has held a strong stance in favor of anti-doping policies.
Murray did not shy away from reiterating that stance when speaking at The Aegon Championships in London Tuesday.
“I do feel like if you’re cheating, and you know, or caught and gaining advantage on your opponents, then you know, you obviously have to be punished for that,” Murray said, adding, “If you’re taking, you know, any medication … it’s your responsibility as the athlete to check and make sure that what you’re taking is legal.”
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