Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova’s ban from tennis for doping violations has been reduced from two years to 15 months, and will now end on April 25, 2017.
Sharapova announced in March that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open. She had been taking Meldonium since 2006, and continued to do so after the substance was added to a banned list earlier this year. Sharapova contended that she had done so because she had simply ignored emails from the World Anti-Doping Association noting the drug’s new designation.
Sharapova, once the world’s top-ranked tennis player, had been plagued by a rash of injuries and was ranked No. 7 at the time of her positive test revelation. She has since slid all the way to No. 96. Her 35 singles titles and five Grand Slams rank third among active players behind Venus and Serena Williams. Sharapova has won the French Open twice and Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open once apiece; she’s one of only ten women, and the only Russian woman, to hold the career Grand Slam.
“I don’t want to end my career this way,” Sharapova said at the time she revealed her positive test. “I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.” It appears she will get that chance.
By Jay Busbee