Maria Sharapova has been banned from professional tennis for two years after she admitted to breaking anti-doping rules.

The 29-year-old’s suspension has been backdated to 26 January of this year, which was when she provided a urine sample containing meldonium shortly after a quarter-final match at the Australian Open.

In a statement on Facebook, the Russian athlete described the suspension as “unfairly harsh”, and vowed to immediately appeal the tribunal’s decision at a court of arbitration.

Meldonium, which is commonly used to treat heart and angina problems, was added to the list of banned substances for players in 2016 – but Sharapova maintained she had been unaware the rules had changed.

The drug increases blood flow in the body and allows more oxygen to be carried to the muscles, improving exercise capacity.

Sharapova has said she was taking meldonium for “several health issues” – including signs of diabetes and magnesium deficiency.

Because she promptly admitted violating anti-doping rules, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) decided to backdate the suspension…. see more

source: skynews