Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis world on Monday by announcing that she failed a drug test during the Australian Open in January. The question is now, what punishment will she receive?
The Press Conference
The Russian was honest in her press conference, taking full responsibility to testing positive to Meldonium, a drug produced in Latvia that is also banned in the USA, UK and Australia.
It was placed on the illicit substance list by WADA on January 1st 2016, and the organization had warned Sharapova in the form of an email, which she admitted that she did not read.
The act of not reading anything sent from the anti-doping organization is simply inexcusable. For someone of Sharapova’s stature especially, as she would have a large entourage, which surely should be on top of these issues.
Seeing as though the five-time Grand Slam winner admitted that she did not read the email, this should give the ITF all the information it needs to suspend Sharapova, as she was careless and negligent about the issue.
One other instance that the ITF needs to take into consideration is the notion that Sharapova may have known that the substance would enhance her performance, even though she was prescribed it to assist her with flu symptoms.
Even though it was legal up until this season, many are saying that the Russian should suffer the consequences, including former Grand Slam champion Jennifer Capriati, who stated that Sharapova should be stripped of all her titles on tour.
That is extremely harsh. Even if it was enhancing the Russian’s performance, Meldonium was legal, and Sharapova has been doing nothing wrong for ten years. But her negligence is worrying, and that is why there should be punishment.
What Should the Punishment be?
The ITF has a range of times for suspension, anywhere between two or four years for failing a drug test. However it is able to go above or below that time frame, but it is unlikely that it will happen.
From the information that has been revealed, it could be a two to three year penalty for Sharapova, which could ultimately end her career. Can she come back from that?