How serious was Maria Sharapova’s doping?

Tennis’s ruling body passed judgment on Sharapova’s drug infractions this week, and though the possibility of an appeal remains, its report paints a picture of sustained use and concealment

Is Maria Sharapova’s two-year ban for failing a drugs test fair?

The International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s tribunal could hardly have been more matter of fact. “She is the sole author of her own misfortune,” the tribunal said in its 33-page judgment, after the Russian tested positive for the recently banned drug meldonium during the Australian Open in January. Although she has not contested the failed test, Sharapova said she took the drug before it was banned and for health reasons only, on the advice of her doctor, over a 10-year period. But the tribunal found that while she did not intentionally contravene anti-doping rules, Sharapova was responsible for the substance being in her system at the Australian Open, and for failing to notice that it had been added to the banned list in January. It said the 29-year-old had deliberately concealed her use of meldonium from the authorities, which require athletes to declare all frequently used medications, as well as from her own coaches and team.

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