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Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Suspended for Failing Drug Test

In March, Maria admitted that she tested positive for 'Meldonium', a drug that was banned only earlier this year, in 2016

Maria Sharapova 2008 B&L Championship trophy. Image source:Wikimedia Commons
  • Maria Sharapova failed the Drug Test and will be banned from playing Tennis for two years
  • The drug ‘Mildonium’ was abused, the tribunal report said
  • Maria asserted that the drug abuse was unintentional, and she will appeal the CAS for support

Russian Tennis Star Maria Sharapova has been suspended for a period of two years by an independent tribunal for failing the drug test, says the International Tennis Federation.

This unfortunate development will mean that she will have to forfeit her title as the Quarter Finalist in the Australian Open this year, along with the prize money.

The ITF tribunal stated that Sharapova’s 2 year ban on playing the sport will be backdated to January 2016, thanks to her “prompt admission”. She had admitted in March that she tested positive for ‘Meldonium’, a drug that was banned only earlier this year.

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Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Sharapova at the Western & Southern Open, August 2011. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

However, she also asserts that she was doing so unintentionally. In a press conference in a downtown Los Angeles Hotel, she said:

“I did fail the test, and I take full responsibility for it. … It’s very important for you to understand that for 10 years, this medicine was not on WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on Jan. 1, the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I did not know. … I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues I was having in 2006.”

The tribunal did understand that Sharapova’s breach “was unintentional” because she “did not appreciate that Mildronate contained a substance prohibited from 1 January 2016.” Meldonium is the active ingredient in Mildronate. However, the decision read:

“[S]he does bear sole responsibility for the contravention, and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible. If she had not had not concealed her use of Mildronate from the anti-doping authorities, members of her own support team and the doctors whom she consulted, but had sought advice, then the contravention would have been avoided.”

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It concluded: “She is the sole author of her own misfortune.”

In a Facebook post following the tribunal’s decision, Sharapova described the two-year suspension as “unfairly harsh.” Here’s more:

“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

The Facebook Post has collected over 52,000 likes  (as of now) with very loyal and supporting comments from thousands of people all over the world. Trending Twitter hashtags like #BringMariaBack and #IStandForMaria also did their rounds on Twitter.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: saurabhbodas96


  • Paras Vashisth

    The highest earning athlete in any female sport said that she had been found to have taken Mildronate – or Meldonium – which was prohibited. It is negligent for her and from that she might face future career problems.

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Family is the First Priority, but I have no Plans to Retire in the Near Future : Roger Federer

With the historical most of 19 Grand-Slam titles, the Basel-born tennis legend is considered to be the best ever player of the sport. But Federer himself feels reluctant to accept it.

Roger Federer
19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Wikimedia

Shanghai, October 17, 2017 :  Seeded second, Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer returned to the Shanghai Rolex Masters after two years and concluded the season’s penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament with his 94th career crown after a fifth consecutive victory over old foe Rafael Nadal in the final.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion chatted in an exclusive interview with Xinhua after Sunday’s match, saying he has no plans to retire in the near future, but for him family is the first at the moment.

“I know it (retirement) is sooner or later. I know I’m not 22 anymore, but I don’t have a date,” Roger Federer said, “If the body allows me to play, my family allows me to play, if the success is still there, if I’m happy to travel, I will continue. But the four things have to work, if one of the four doesn’t work, it maybe the time to stop. But for now, it’s ok.”

At the age of 36, the Swiss has already won a Tour-best six titles this season, including the successes in the Australian Open where he overcame Nadal in a tough five-setter and the Wimbledon Open where he defeated Marin Cilic in straightforward three sets.

Many people are wondering how could a player make such accomplishments at such an age. One of the reasons is that the veteran has learned to be more flexible and made a smart schedule during the season.

“For me, I have come to realize that sometimes less is more. Today I think when I take enough rest, feel hungry and have the fire, then it’s the one I can play my best. I want to make sure I’m happy to be on the court and happy to do press. It’s like if I do too much, the fire is like Juuuu… it goes away. So for me, the family is my priority and then the rest,” Federer explained.

With the historical most of 19 Grand-Slam titles, the Basel-born tennis legend, Roger Federer is considered to be the best ever player of the sport. But Federer himself feels reluctant to accept it. In his opinion, being the ever best is not only about Grand Slams. “Like Bjorn Borg, he only went to Australia once or twice because it was during the Christmas, and he was happy at home instead of travelling.”

“I worked extremely hard to have a great career, and sometimes have chased records. But you know, it’s hard to judge who is the best of all time, you see Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras. There are so many players did fabulous things, so I tried my best with my career. I didn’t expect myself playing maybe this well at this age. I’m happy with what I achieved, and hope I can keep going,” Federer continued.

Although trailing 14-23 in his previous meets against the current world No.1, Federer is sparing no efforts to narrow the margin as he has defeated Nadal five times in a row, of which four came in this season. It seems that the eight-time Wimbledon Open champion has found ways to beat the 10-time French Open winner.

“I think I’m serving consistently better. I get easier power ever since I switched to the bigger racquet. I feel I’m connecting better on the backhand and I’m serving good,” Federer said of the change of game style which proved to be helpful for him, “I think it was hard for me to consistently just keep on attacking with the backhand, but now it seems almost not a problem.”

“But that’s no guarantee, he is gonna keep working. Rafael is a great player and extreme difficult to play against, because he can use his left hand do everything. But what I see is to win the title, not so much beating Rafael, but of course beating him is more special,” he added.

The glory on Sunday was the second time that Federer has lifted the trophy at the tournament, with the previous one in 2014.

Prior to the tournament, Federer got a chance to take the subway in Shanghai which left him deep impression. He said he was very used to the public transportation when he was at young age in his home country Switzerland.

“Shanghai is a great tournament, I hope I can come to play every year if my body allows. And I’d like to bring my family to, not just Shanghai, China in general. It’s such a diverse, interesting country with so much rich history that I’d like to visit more,” Roger Federer said.

Looking to the future of the Tour, Federer also talked about some young players whom in his opinion have the potential to be the next legends, such as Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios.

“(To be the legends), you need hardwork, passion, and a good team, good training facilities, and being able to withstand pressure, and understanding the Tour, making it like the second home. It takes a little bit more time, but they are doing great. It’s nice to see these young talents in the Tour, and they make tennis a better place and exciting for fans,” Federer said. (IANS)