Tennis star Maria Sharapova could be seen back in competition as early as January if her appeal to overturn a two-year doping ban goes in her favor. The final decision on her case will be revealed in the first week of October, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Following the Australian Open 2016, Maria Sharapova tested positive for meldonium. She admitted to having used the drug since 2007. She claims that she was not aware that the substance had been banned and continued to take it during the Grand Slam. According to BBC,the drug only became a banned substance on January 1, 2016. Sharapova was slapped with a two-year ban from competitive tennis due to the presence of the newly banned substance in her system.
Sharapova and her team immediately appealed for the decision to be overturned, claiming that she never took any drug that could be deemed as a “performance enhancer.” Meldonium was reportedly prescribed to her nearly a decade ago due to medical reasons. The drug is associated with the treatment of heart conditions.
Sharapova initially hoped for a decision to be made before the Rio Summer Olympics, but the decision has been pushed back to a later date. This year, apart from numerous other smaller tournaments, she has already missed the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. The ban has also cost Sharapova millions of dollars of revenue from endorsement deals and appearance fees.
While she is off the court, Sharapova has taken the time to pursue other opportunities. According to University Herald, she is enrolled at Harvard University, where she is taking up the Executive Education program. The course is geared towards athletes and celebrities who wish to gain knowledge on how to better manage their assets.
Sharapova has also been spotted promoting her candy business called “Sugarpova.” Her presence has also been noted during the New York Fashion Week festivities. Tennis fans all over the world will have to wait until the first week of October to find out if Sharapova will be back on the court earlier than January 2018.