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Sharapova to appeal two-year suspension over doping use
Last Updated: 2016-06-09 01:03 | Xinhua
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Former tennis world No. 1 Maria Sharapova said Wednesday that she would appeal a two-year suspension announced by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for violation of anti-doping rules.

Earlier in the day, the ITF said on its website that an independent tribunal has found that Sharapova committed an anti-doping rule violation and as a consequence has disqualified the affected results and imposed a period of ineligibility of two years, starting from Jan. 26.

Noting that the suspension was "unfairly harsh", the 29-year-old Russian tennis star denied on her Facebook page any intentional attempt to use performance enhancing substance, and vowed to "immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling" to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In March, the five-time grand slam champion was informed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova was found positive to a substance called Meldonium, also known as mildronate and used to treat various heart diseases. The substance has been banned by the WADA from Jan.1 this year.

Following the announcement, a bunch of international renowned brands, including German super car brand Porsche, Sportswear company Nike and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, have decided to suspend their sponsorship deals with Sharapova.

The Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) has said it would give all the necessary support for Sharapova in her appeal against the punishment.

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