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The world's highest-paid female athlete, worldwide tennis star Maria Sharapova, has been banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation.
The ban commenced on January 26th of this yr, when she examined constructive for the drug, meldonium, shortly after an Australian Open loss to Serena Williams. Meldonium, which was added to the itemizing of banned substances on January 1st, just some weeks earlier to Sharapova's constructive check out, is a drug related to the blood. When taken in shut conjunction with bodily train, it is recognized to increase stamina and completely different bodily capabilities.
On March 7th, the ITF declared a two-year suspension for Sharapova, primarily based totally on her violation of its performance-enhancing drug insurance policies – a suspension that was backdated to the time of her failed check out. Shortly thereafter, Sharapova known as a press conference and shocked the sports activities actions world by admitting to her crime, nonetheless pleading ignorance.
Sharapova's predominant argument is that she had been taking the drug for over ten years as prescribed by a family doctor. The prescription was used to counteract genetic cardiovascular and diabetic factors. Unfortunately, her doctor will also be on file as having urged her to take the drug in additional an hour sooner than additional obligatory matches, which undoubtedly wouldn't help her state of affairs.
While Sharapova claims she was unaware that the substance had been added to the itemizing of banned drugs, she was nonetheless quick to apologize for her actions and keep herself accountable:
"I take accountability for my professionalism in my job and I made an enormous mistake," said the 29 yr outdated tennis phenom. "I do know there will be penalties and I don't want to complete my career this way. I truly hope I will be given one different probability to play tennis as soon as extra. I can't blame anyone nonetheless myself. I've let my followers down."
Steve Simon, chief authorities of the Women's Tennis Association, had this to say regarding the matter: "It is important at all times for players to concentrate to the foundations and to adjust to them. In this case, Maria has taken accountability for her mistake from the outset. The WTA helps the strategy that the ITF and Maria have adopted."
Sharapova has already appealed the suspension in hopes that it's going to probably be lowered or eradicated altogether. The attraction was filed on Tuesday, June 14th, and it has not however been determined whether or not or not or not there is usually a listening to on the matter. What we do know is that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has determined that it is going to expedite the ruling course of as a strategy to make a dedication earlier to the upcoming Olympic Games. According to the CAS, the ruling will be given no later than July 18th. If the suspension is thrown out, then Sharapova will be eligible to play for Russia in Rio this summer time season.
Sharapova's break day the courtroom will present costly if the suspension stands, as she's going to overlook this yr's Summer Olympics together with eight grand-slam tournaments between now and January 2018. But not solely will she miss the time on the courtroom, she'll be missing out on some sponsorships – her predominant provide of income – as correctly.
Two of Sharapova's predominant sponsorships have already been suspended within the interim: Porsche and Tag Heuer. Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver implied in a modern assertion that the company's resolution will be primarily based totally on the outcomes of the listening to:
"We now have some time and as she is suspended for two years we're not in a rush anymore to sign a model new contract proper this second or this month. We will see later what we will do."
A spokesperson from Porsche had the identical story:
"We have taken word of the newest International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruling throughout the case of Maria Sharapova and are notably aware that it was decided that she was not accused of intentionally violating the World Anti-Doping-Code. As Maria will attraction the selection, we'll proceed to keep up all actions alongside along with her on keep until the final word judgement has been reached."
Thankfully for Sharapova, every Nike and Head have agreed to face behind their excellent athlete via the midst of these turbulent events. Nike, which initially revoked its contract, upon listening to that she had violated worldwide anti-doping pointers, reinstated her contract with the following assertion:
"The ITF [International Tennis Federation] Tribunal has found that Maria did not intentionally break its pointers. Maria has always made her place clear, has apologized for her mistake and is now fascinating the size of the ban. Based on the selection of the ITF and their factual findings, we hope to see Maria once more on courtroom and may proceed to affiliate alongside along with her."
Head, alternatively, under no circumstances wavered in its help of the Russian sensation, calling her a "perform model" and a "lady of integrity." In actuality, Head has since extended its contract with Sharapova, believing that the preliminary decision by the ITF was incorrect.
Combined, the contracts with Head and Nike will give Sharapova someplace within the ballpark of $15 million per yr. That must be enough to keep up the bread on the desk until she is going to be capable to play as soon as extra.
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