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Sharapova to appeal her two-year ban for failing drugs test

Maria Sharapova, the five-time tennis Grand Slam champion, has vowed to appeal a two-year ban after failing a drugs test at the Australian Open in January.

The 29-year-old Russian took meldonium, a commonly-used heart disease drug, for a period of time that overlapped the January 1, 2016 cut-off date when it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (Wada) banned list.

At an anti-doping hearing in London yesterday, Sharapova was informed by the International Tennis Federation that she would be banned for two years as meldonium is a metabolic modulator which increases stamina.

Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004, avoided a maximum four-year ban after Wada admitted earlier this year scientists could not determine how long the drug remained in the user's system.

Sharapova will now appeal the sanction, which has been backdated to January 26, 2016, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"It is very important for you to understand that, for 10 years, this medicine was not on Wada's banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine," she said in March.

Former world number one Sharapova admitted to taking meldonium for 10 years on medical grounds after being recommended to do so by a family-approved doctor.

Sport, Page 48

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