Tennis star Maria Sharapova will return to the courts next year

Maria Sharapova.

SUBSEQUENT to an appeal against her two year ban for taking the drug meldonium, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has had the sentence reduced to 15 months which means that she would be likely to be able to play at the French Open next year, provided she can get a wild card as her enforced lack of match play has seen her drop considerably in the rankings.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport found that although she had been guilty of taking the drug which helps control problems with the heart, it was clear that she was not using it to enhance performance as she had been taking it regularly for 10 years but was negligent in not noting that it was banned on January 1, 2016.

There was no question that she had in anyway tried to deny the fact that she had been taking the drug for which she tested positive on January 26 and then on February 2, so it was believed that the two year ban was somewhat drastic and as she had already had to sit out a number of tournaments, the reduced 15 month ban would allow her to be available to play in the second major tournament of 2017.

Miss Sharapova was said to be delighted with the news and confirmed that she had learned a great deal from the problems of the last few months and looked forward to returning to the sport that she loved.

She did however add that she hoped that the International Tennis Federation had also learned from what had happened as it appeared that other sports were much more efficient at advising their athletes of changes in rules concerning drugs.

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