Sharapova receives 'harsh' ban for meldonium

Rachel Axon and Nick McCarvel, USA TODAY Sports
3:40 p.m. EDT June 8, 2016

USA TODAY Sports’ Nick McCarvel discusses Maria Sharapova’s two0year ban for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova, who tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January, has been given a two-year suspension, the International Tennis Federation announced Wednesday.

In announcing the decision, the ITF said the independent tribunal who heard her case on May 18 and 19 determined her suspension should be back-dated to the date of her sample collection because of her “prompt admission of her violation.” Sharapova’s results from the Australian Open are disqualified, causing her to forfeit ranking points and $281,633 prize money.

The ITF’s decision also revealed that an out-of-competition test Sharapova took on Feb. 2 in Moscow had meldonium in the sample.

In a statement on her Facebook page, Sharapova said she would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose…

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