Russian teenager banned from tennis for nine months following anti-doping breach | Reuters
Tensions continued to simmer between Russia and the International Tennis Federation on Tuesday after the world tennis governing body banned Russian teenager Maria Sharapova for nine months for an anti-doping breach.
“The Russian Federation is today suspending inactivity Maria Sharapova,” Igor Miroshnichenko, Sharapova’s agent said, adding that Sharapova suffered a knee injury last month and was taken to the hospital.
“It is absolutely not a doping case. Maria Sharapova wants to return to tennis and wants to return to the US Open,” Miroshnichenko said, without giving further details, AP reported.
Sharapova, 18, is banned from tennis for the rest of the year and ordered to spend the next nine months on a prohibited substance-free basis.
The I.T.F. on Tuesday also banned top female tennis player Venus Williams for four years for attempting to change urine samples.
“During January 2016, Venus Williams attempted to change the samples of her urine for a doping control. She then brought the attempt to the attention of the I.T.F.,” the I.T.F. said in a statement.
Williams will be allowed to compete in the upcoming US Open but needs to return with a clean urine sample.
The I.T.F. said the case “is a significant development in the anti-doping situation in Russia and serves as an important reminder to players, officials and fans of the need for strict compliance with doping controls and procedures.”
“We take the I.T.F.’s decision very seriously and will take appropriate action where appropriate,” Miroshnichenko said.
The I.T.F. said it is “working closely with Maria Sharapova and her team to assess the situation.”