By Barry Janoff
July 11, 2016: Maria Sharapova, former world No. 1 women's singles player who currently is serving a two-year suspension due to testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, will not be able to play in the 2016 Olympics and will also miss the U.S. Open because her appeal of the ban, and a subsequent, ruling, will not be heard until September.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is reviewing her case and appeal, said today that Sharapova and the International Tennis Federation, the organization that placed the ban on Sharapova, have agreed to defer the CAS decision until September 2016.
A ruling was initially expected by July 18.
CAS said that both sides requested the postponement.
"Due to the parties requiring additional time to complete and respond to their respective evidentiary submissions, and several scheduling conflicts, the parties have agreed not to expedite the appeal," CAS said in a statement. "A decision is expected to be issued by 19 September 2016."
The Olympics are scheduled for Aug. 5-21. The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 29 - Sept. 11.
She had hoped to represent Russia in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Sharapova held a press conference in early March stating that she failed drug test taken in January during the Australian Open for the anti-ischemic drug Mildronate, also known as meldonium, which used to counteract a lack of blood flow.
ITF put meldonium on its banned list effective Jan. 1, 2016. Sharapova said that she had been taking the drug "for ten years."
ITF gave Sharapova a two-year ban, which she appealed in June to CAS.
According to a CAS statement in June, "Ms Sharapova seeks the annulment of the Tribunal’s decision to sanction her with a two-year period of ineligibility further to an anti-doping rule violation. Ms Sharapova submits that the period of ineligibility should be eliminated, or in the alternative, reduced."
Sharapova was ranked No. 7 in the world at the time. She currently is ranked No. 96 in the world by the WTA after having been No. 1 in 2015. She has won five Grand Slam singles, the most recent the 2014 French Open. She last competed in the 2016 Australian Open.
During her March press conference, Sharapova stated, "I made a a huge mistake . . . I have to take full responsibility," explaining that she had received a letter from the ITF telling her she had failed a drug test during the Australian Open.
Sharapova said that she received notification from the World Anti-Doping Agency on Dec. 22 that the drug would be banned beginning Jan. 1.
Sharapova said that she used the drug as prescribed by a doctor since 2006 because she was “getting sick very often, and I had a magnesium deficiency. I also had an irregular EKG results, and I have a family history of diabetes.”
According to Sharapova, "I have to take full responsibility for it. It's my body and I have to be responsible for what I put in my body.
"I have been very open and honest about many things, I take great responsibility in my job . . . I made a huge mistake."
The impact has been far-reaching for Sharapova, her career, her marketing partners, her fans and for tennis. In 2015, she was the highest-paid female athlete in the world, topping $23 million in endorsements alone, according to Forbes.
She has since been surpassed by Serena Williams, the world's No. 1 ranked women's tennis player.
Sharapova's endorsements include Nike, Porsche, Evian, Tag Heuer, Avon and Head. She also has other off-the-court income from such investments as candy company Sugarpova, which she founded.
She has not appeared in new marketing campaigns this year, instead attending the Harvard Business School and making personal appearances on behalf of Sugarpova and her other personal endeavors.
Sharapova Faults, Waits To Be Served Ban
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