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Sharapova Banned From Tennis For Two Years


Maria Sharapova speaks to the media after announcing her failed drug test in March.
Maria Sharapova speaks to the media after announcing her failed drug test in March.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has been suspended from the sport for two years by the International Tennis Federation for using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

The ruling, announced on June 8 by the governing body of world tennis, takes effect retroactively from January 26, 2016 -- meaning she will not be allowed to play a professional match until January 26, 2018.

Sharapova vowed to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, calling the ban "unfairly harsh."

"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension," she said on her Facebook page.

Despite the ban, sports giant Nike said it will resume its sponsorship of Sharapova, citing the conclusion the violation was not intentional. Nike suspended its sponsorship in March when Sharapova's drug case was first announced.

Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, announced in March that she had been provisionally suspended after failing a doping test in January.

Sharapova said at the time that she was not aware the World Anti-Doping Agency had barred athletes from using meldonium beginning on January 1.

Sharapova's lawyer, John Haggerty, says she took meldonium after the ban came into effect.

Sharapova said she was first prescribed the drug for medical reasons in 2006.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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