Sharapova targets April return
tennis star Maria Sharapova hailed the reduction of her two-year doping ban on Tuesday as one of the “happiest days” of her life, immediately targeting a return to action in April 2017.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cut Sharapova’s ban to 15 months saying she was not an “intentional doper”, after the 29-yearold tested positive for the banned medication meldonium during January’s Australian Open – throwing her glittering, money-spinning career into serious jeopardy.
“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,” said Sharapova, who has racked up 35 WTA singles titles and more than earnings.
An April return – the ban is backdated to the positive test in January this year – means she would in theory be able to compete at the French Open in May-June next year.
Sharapova, whose ferocity on court, business acumen and glamorous looks have all combined to make her a marketing juggernaut, was hit with a two-year ban by an independent tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Reducing the ban after she appealed, the Lausanne-based CAS “found that Sharapova committed an anti-doping rule violation and that while it was with ‘no significant fault’, she bore some degree of fault, for which a sanction of 15 months is appropriate”. US$36million in career