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Maria Sharapova can’t play professional tennis for two years. On Wednesday, an Independent Tribunal appointed by the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme found her guilty of committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and handed her the ban. Here’s a complete breakdown of why it happened, what it means, and what happens next.
What was Sharapova taking?
She was taking meldonium, which is a drug that was first manufactured in Latvia and hasn’t been approved by the FDA. It’s used to treat angina and heart failure, but it can also increase an athlete’s endurance. Sharapova claimed she was taking the drug for a magnesium deficiency, an irregular electrocardiograph, and a family history of diabetes.
Did she know she wasn’t supposed to be taking it?
This is where things get murky. Sharapova claims she didn’t open the emails that said the drug was banned beginning in 2016, and the ITF couldn’t prove that she did know (if they could, the sentence would’ve been between two to four years rather than one to two). However, Sharapova stopped seeing the doctor who prescribed it for her in 2013,…