MARIA SHARAPOVA IS SUSPENDED FROM TENNIS FOR TWO YEARS

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was suspended Wednesday for two years for failing a drug test, labeled ”the sole author of her own misfortune” because she hid regular pre-match use of a newly banned substance from anti-doping authorities and members of her own entourage. The panel said various elements of Sharapova’s case ”inevitably lead to the conclusion” that she took the substance ”for the purpose of enhancing her performance.”

Sharapova, who faced up to a four-year suspension, loses all ranking points and prize money she earned in Melbourne.

One bit of good news for Sharapova on Wednesday: Sportswear giant Nike announced it ”will continue to partner” with her, adding: ”We hope to see Maria back on court.” In March, Nike said it would suspend its business relationship with Sharapova while an investigation was ongoing. ”It may be that she genuinely believed that mildronate had some general beneficial effect on her health but the manner in which the medication was taken, its concealment from the anti-doping authorities, her failure to disclose it even to her own team, and the lack of any medical justification must inevitably lead to the conclusion that she took mildronate for the purpose of enhancing her performance.”

The panel, which held a two-day hearing last month, found that only Sharapova’s manager, Max Eisenbud of IMG, and her father knew she was taking the drug then.

H/T: Yahoo Sports