Talk about a lucky break! Maria Sharapova was facing a 2-year-ban from tennis for doping. Yet, after appealing the decision, her suspension was reduced and she will be back on the court sooner than people think!
Maria, 29, is thanking her luck (and her lawyers) after a sports court trimmed 9 months off of her 2-year ban from tennis for using a banned substance, according to the Associated Press. The Court of Arbitration for Sport found that while Maria “bore some degree of fault” for her scandal, it was “less than significant” and totally wrong to sack her with a two year suspension from the sport that she loves.
“The panel has determined, under the totality of the circumstances, that a sanction of 15 months is appropriate here given her degree of fault,” the three-man panel ruled in their 28-page decision. Ultimately, they thought that a reduced sentence was more fitting.
With Maria’s punishment trimmed down to just 15 months, when can she return to competitive tennis? Well, her sentence went into effect on Jan. 26, 2016, and was supposed to end on Jan. 25, 2018. But, after all the time she’s already served, she’ll be free to return to the game on April 26, 2017, one month ahead of the French Open. Wow! She can pull off a comeback in a major way!
“I’ve gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days,” the five-time Grand Slam champions said in a statement, “as I found out I can return to tennis in April In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back.”
Maria was tagged with a doping violation after she failed a test due to Meldonium. The substance, which is not just a random performance enhancement drug, is used primarily to treat a variety of heart issues. The World Anti-Doping Agency banned the drug in Jan. 2016, after it was found that it could be used to give an athlete an edge.
Maria claimed that she had been taking the medication for over a decade and she only failed the drug test because she didn’t see that Meldonium was not a banned substance. While the court did scold her for not paying attention, they realized that two years was too harsh of a punishment. Now, she can start practicing for her epic return to the court!
Are you glad that Maria’s suspension was reduced, HollywoodLifers? Are you looking forward to her possibly competing at the 2017 French Open?