CAS (The Court of Arbitration for Sport) has reduced the sentence of Maria Sharapova and Sharapova can now go back on the courts in April 26, 2017, according to amil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation.
“It is good that the suspension term has been reduced,” Tarpishchev said in an interview with TASS. “They (CAS) decided to uphold our appeal since they Sharapova is a clean athlete.”
“It will depend completely on her whether she will be able to return to her previous level of playing,” the RTF chief said. “However, we want her to play for the national team and win the next Olympic Games.”
Maria Sharapova has been suspended since January 26, 2016 for the use of the forbidden substance called meldonium. The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by WADA from January 1, 2016. Due to the suspension Maria Sharapova has missed various tournaments including the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Various sponsors have cut ties with the former number one of the WTA Tour.
WADA announced on April 13 that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable.
On the official Sharapova Facebook page, she states the following:
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.
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 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.
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.
And to my fans, I thank you so much for living and breathing so many of these tough months together. During this time, I have learned the true meaning of a fan and I am so fortunate to have had your support.
I’m coming back soon and I can’t wait!