Maria Sharapova was suspended from tennis for two years Wednesday for testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open, and immediately responded by saying she would appeal the decision to sport’s highest court.
The ruling by an independent three-person panel appointed by the International Tennis Federation said Sharapova did not intend to cheat, but that she bore “sole responsibility” and “very significant fault” for the positive test.
“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova said in a statement. ”
The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
The five-time Grand Slam champion was provisionally suspended by the ITF in early March, when she announced at a news conference in Los Angeles that she failed a doping test in January, AP reports.