After being given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova responded.
After the ban was handed down Sharapova took to Facebook to issue a response, a far cry from the Los Angeles hotel which she came out fighting after her positive test was about to be made public.
Her statement in full read:
“Today with their decision of a two-year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional.
“The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance-enhancing substance. The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not.
“You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation — and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.”
“While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension.
“The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans, who are the best and most loyal fans in the world. I have read your letters. I have read your social media posts and your love and support has gotten me through these tough days.
“I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.”