Tennis athlete Maria Sharapova was banned from competing professionally by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after the banned substance Mildronate was identified in her drug test at the 2016 Australian Open.
The initial suspension was set for two years; however, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overruled this duration on October 4 and diminished the length to 15 months (9 months shorter than initially decreed by the ITF).
“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, 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. Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court,” said Sharapova in a statement about the overturned ruling.
She continued, “I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last ten years was no longer allowed. But I also learned how much better other Federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where Mildronate is commonly taken by millions of people.”
Sharapova’s current sponsors include Head Tennis, Porsche, Sugarpova, Evian, Tag Huer, Avon and the bigwig Nike, none of whom dropped the athlete amid the suspension.
Photo courtesy Nike