Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation after failing a drug test at the Australian Open.
Sharapova said in a post on her Facebook page that she would appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport claiming that she did not intentionally violate anti-doping rules.
The heart disease drug Sharapova has been taking since 2006 for health issues became a banned substance on 1 January 2016.
“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” she wrote on Facebook.
“With their decision of a two-year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional.
“The ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation – and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.
“I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.”
Here’s is the actual facebook post:
She was provisionally suspended by the ITF in early March after she failed a doping test in January.
At the time she said she was not aware that the World Anti-Doping Agency had barred athletes from using meldonium. Sharapova said she first was prescribed the Latvian-made drug, typically used for heart conditions, for medical reasons back in 2006.
The World Anti-Doping Agency are unsure how long meldonium stays in the system, and suggested athletes who tested positive before March 1st could avoid bans, provided they had stopped taking it before January 1st.
However, Sharapova had already admitted she continued taking the substance past that date, saying she was unaware it had been added to the banned list as she knew it by another name – mildronate.