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Maria Sharapova out of Olympics as appeal postponed to September

By The Sports Xchange
Maria Sharapova out of Olympics as appeal postponed to September
Russian Maria Sharapova. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI. | License Photo

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova will miss next month's Rio Olympics after the appeal ruling of her two-year doping ban was postponed until September.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland announced Monday that Sharapova and the International Tennis Federation agreed to defer the decision. The ruling was expected by next Monday, but a verdict is now expected by Sept. 19, the court said.

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"Due to the parties requiring additional time to complete and respond to their respective evidentiary submissions, and several scheduling conflicts, the parties have agreed not to expedite the appeal," CAS said in the statement.

Sharapova's lawyer, John Haggerty, said the decision was by mutual agreement.

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"CAS is the court of final appeal and this extension will be helpful." Haggerty said in a statement. "We are hopeful Maria's suspension will be reduced, but in all cases, these additional two months will not impact our expectations of what can be achieved."

Sharapova's ban is due to end on Jan. 25, 2018, which would keep her out of eight Grand Slam tournaments, along with the Olympics.

Sharapova was given a two-year suspension in June by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, a blood-flow-boosting drug. She was tested positive at the Australian Open in January.

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The ITF had asked for Sharapova to be suspended for four years, but the rules state that she could not be suspended for longer than two years if determined her use of the drug was not intentional.

Sharapova's appeal was sent to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, and three judges will make the ruling. Both Sharapova and the ITF each get to choose one of the judges, and the decision will be binding.

The 29-year-old Sharapova called a news conference on March 7 at a Los Angeles hotel and announced she had failed a doping test. She said she had taken meldonium for nearly 10 years. That drug became a banned substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list as of Jan. 1. Sharapova admitted she did not check the updated banned substance list before Jan. 1.

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