Maria Sharapova's Doping Ban Cut From Two Years To 15 Months

Sharapova can return to professional tennis in April next year.

Sport's highest court has cut tennis player Maria Sharapova's two-year doping ban to 15 months.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down the decision Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

The Russian tennis star will be able to return to competition in April, just before the start of the French Open.

Sharapova posted on a statement on her Facebook page, where she said winning the appeal was "one of my happiest days."

Sharapova was banned in May for testing positive for meldonium, a World Anti-Doping Agency-banned substance, following a Jan. 26 urine test. Sharapova admitted to the ITF and to the press in March that she had used the substance.

Sharapova said she had been taking a medicine known to her as mildronate, which she said she did not know is also called meldonium, for 10 years, and that the WADA had only added meldonium to the list of banned substances starting January 2016. She characterized the doping as unintentional.

Back in June, Sharapova said she would appeal the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, calling the two-year suspension “unfairly harsh.”

On Tuesday, the arbitration panel said Sharapova "bore some degree of fault" for the positive test "for which a sanction of 15 months is appropriate."

Her ban took effect retroactively on Jan. 26.

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