ITF Sets Date For Sharapova’s Doping Tribunal

A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled in the doping case of former tennis world no. 2 Maria Sharapova. The ruling seems a possibility now before Wimbledon starts.

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International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty has remarked doping cases in tennis usually tales ''two to three months'' to process. The ITF chief however remarked he does not have exact details from the federation's anti-doping tribunal, including when and where the hearing will be held.

Haggerty, who was elected as ITF president last year, said the International Tennis Federation and its integrity unit will be more transparent in communicating about cases. The ITF announced a ban of ten years on Tuesday who continued to work, including at the 2015 U.S. Open while he was still serving a suspension of one year that was never publicly disclosed. In a briefing on the sidelines of the SportAccord conference, Haggerty said we don't always get things 100 percent but you learn through this. Haggerty added the Tennis Integrity Unit received more than 40 alerts of suspicious betting patterns on potential match-fixing cases in matches played in the first three months this year.

The Russian professional tennis player, who has competed on the WTA tour since 2001, was provisionally suspended after she announced on March 8 that she tested positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open in January. Maria Sharapova said she had been prescribed the blood-flow boosting drug since 2006 and claimed she was unaware that use of the substance had been made prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1. Sharapova claimed she had been taking Mildronate (Meldonium) since 2006 for a magnesium deficiency and the drug was prescribed by a family doctor.

Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza hailed the stance of Maria Sharapova to come out in public and announce her failed dope test. Mirza, the Indian professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in the women's doubles rankings, said everybody was surprised to know about Maria's test. The Indian tennis star said it was pretty gutsy of Maria Sharapova to make that announcement and take responsibility for it. Sania added Maria took the full blame and she didn't blame anyone else and added if she was, God forbid, in that situation, she thinks she would have done exactly the same thing.

The news of Sharapova's imminent disciplinary hearing came on the same day when new measures were announced by the Russian officials to have a ban on their track-and-field program lifted. Last year, the program was sanctioned after alleged systemic cheating among officials, coaches, and athletes was highlighted in a World Anti-Doping Agency report. According to an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Sport, WADA may nominate two international anti-doping experts to be stationed full time in Moscow to oversee the changes and added that all track-and-field athletes intending to compete in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be tested a minimum of three times before the Games in August. Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said this is an important step in our journey.

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