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Tennis

Maria Sharapova To Return To Tennis Court On April 2007

Maria Sharapova’s two-year doping ban has been reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The five-time Grand Slam winner, 29, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian will be able to return to the tennis court on 26 April, 2017.

“I am counting the days until I can return,” she said.

“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.”

Sharapova won the Wimbledon singles title as a 17-year-old in 2004, going on to win the Australian, French and US Opens to complete a career Grand Slam.

However, she has not played professional tennis since losing to 22-time Grand Slam champion Williams.

“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,” she said.

“I have learned from this, and I hope the ITF has as well. Cas concluded that ‘the panel has determined it does not agree with many of the conclusions of the ITF tribunal’.

“I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last 10 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.

“Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through.”

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