09:42 Jun. 9, 2016
Her latest results and prize money will be canceled out
The career of Russian former world number one Maria Sharapova was in tatters on Wednesday after she was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) following her positive test for the banned drug meldonium.
The tribunal found that Sharapova had taken the drug before each of her five matches at this year's Australian Open where she lost to Serena Williams.
In a statement the ITF said the five-times grand slam champion's ban would be backdated to January 2, 2016, meaning her results and prize money from the Australian Open, where she reached the quarter-finals, would be canceled out.
A 33-page report of the tribunal's findings said: "The ITF accepts that the player did not engage in conduct that she knew constituted an antidoping rule violation," but it rejected her assertion that there was no "significant" fault on her part.
"She was the sole author of her own misfortune," it said.
On its website, the ITF said the ban, which could have been as long as four years, had been backdated due to Sharapova's "prompt admission" of taking the substance, and would end on midnight of Jan. 25, 2018.
Sharapova, in turn, announced she would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), describing the punishment as "unfairly harsh".
"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension," Sharapova said.
Sharapova has 35 WTA singles titles and has won all four of the sport's grand slam titles. Her career earnings amount to USD 36 million while her off-court earnings, according to Forbes, are around USD 200 million.