The International Tennis Federation (ITF) have officially banned Maria Sharapova for two years after she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open earlier this year.
The governing body of world tennis said an independent tribunal found the tennis queen guilty for doping violations and will suspend her for two years, which started from January 26.
Maria Sharapova criticized the suspension as “harsh and unfair” and will choose to appeal.
“The tribunal have concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, which means two-year suspension is unjust,” she said on her official Facebook page.
“Why would they say I took the drug without intent but continue to punish me for two years?
“I will appeal my suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” she concluded.
The five-time Grand Slam winner admitted to the use of meldonium but was unaware that it was categorized in the list of banned substances of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The ITF suspended Maria Sharapova on a provisional term from March 12 onwards.