Tennis star Maria Sharapova suspended two years for doping - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tennis star Maria Sharapova suspended two years for doping

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By: NICK ZACCARDI, NBC Sports

(NBC) - Maria Sharapova has been banned two years for failed drug tests and will miss the Rio Olympics, the International Tennis Federation announced Wednesday.

The ban was backdated to Jan. 26, when she failed her first drug test. The ITF also said Sharapova failed an out-of-competition test Feb. 2.

Sharapova said she will appeal the ban, via a statement posted on her Facebook page within minutes of the announcement.

Sharapova, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist and five-time Grand Slam singles champion, said March 8 that she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open and was provisionally suspended.

Sharapova said she failed to read an email in December notifying her that meldonium would be banned starting Jan. 1 and instead continued to take the medication she had been using since 2006 for “several health issues.”

The announcement Wednesday stated that Sharapova did not intentionally break anti-doping rules but that she bears “sole responsibility … and very significant fault, in failing to take any steps to check whether the continued use of this medicine was permissible.”

Last month, the Russian tennis federation said it would put Sharapova on its provisional Olympic team as it waited to see when Sharapova’s indefinite suspension would end.

An independent tribunal reviewed the case from May 18-19.

Sharapova’s ranking has fallen since the Australian Open from No. 6 to No. 26, her lowest since Sept. 13, 2009, but was still high enough for Olympic qualification.

Read more on NBC Sports.

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