Maria Sharapova can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as she learns of the final verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who ruled that her suspension from tennis will last a total of 15 months.
Originally, Maria Sharapova has been suspended after publicly admitting that she was taking the banned substance called Meldonium, which is a cardiac drug used for boosting the athletes performance. Immediately after she admitted taking the drug, her credibility and reputation were hit by number of media, fans and even a large number of her colleagues, who publicly criticized Sharapova and called her a fraud.
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were among the loudest critics that called her out for taking the banned substance and who publicly supported the decision to suspend Maria Sharapova for 24 months. Even Grigor Dimitrov, ex-boyfriend, who dated Sharapova for almost 2 years, said that she has deserved the suspension, after taking the banned substances. However, Dimitrov has also said that Maria Sharapova will most likely be hungry for matches and that the tennis world misses her.
Maria Sharapova has claimed that she was taking the drug for 10 year, but was unaware that the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned the drug starting with 2016. As soon as she found that out, she came out and admitted her fault publicly, hoping to go by unpunished, but ended up anyways facing a suspension of 24 months by the ITF (International Tennis Federation).
However, the final decision was made on Tuesday, as the Court for Arbitration for Sports panel concluded that Sharapova’s case “was not about an athlete who cheated.” Instead, the panel found, “It was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to a player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product she had been legally taking over a long period, and for most of the time on the basis of a doctor’s prescription, remained in compliance.”
In addition, the CAS panel concluded that: „Under no circumstances, therefore, can the player be considered to be an ‘intentional doper.’”
The CAS also ruled that the original suspension of 24 months should be reduced to a suspension of 15 months, which means that Sharapova should be back in full swing at the end of April, 2017.
“I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back,” she said in a statement. “I’m coming back soon and I can’t wait,” Maria said after hearing the final decision.
Sharapova, who was off the courts since the Australian Open, missing Grand Slams and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has won 5 Grand Slam titles in her career, will have a tough road ahead of her in order to get back on the winning ways, especially since her rankings have fallen to No. 95 on the ATP list (and will fall even more).