Maria Sharapova hits out at the International Tennis Federation

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In March of this year, Russian female tennis phenomenon Maria Sharapova announced to the world that she had tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium at the Australian Open.

As a result of the failed drug test, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) handed Maria Sharapova a colossal two-year banning order. 

In a video interview, Sharapova claims that the ITF wanted to ban her for double that amount of time claiming "the ITF wanted to ban me for four years."

There are some doubts as to whether the drug Meldonium should be on the list of banned substances, as some have concerns as to whether or not the athlete's performance is enhanced as a direct result of using the drug.

The drug works by helping to increase the blood flow to the organs of the body, it does this by expanding the arteries.

The pro-ban argument would be that the increase of blood flow to the body's main organs - including the heart - would increase oxygen supply to the body, and thus give the athlete an advantage over his/her opponent.  

The substance was legal for a long period of time, but was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] on the 1st of January 2016.

In the above mentioned interview Sharapova goes on to explain her 'shock' at being given the ban, and the details behind her use of the drug.

She said: "I was so shocked in the first place [to have received the ban] because I was taking a substance that was completely legal for 10 years, that a doctor had recommended after so many medical tests."

When questioned on whether or not she felt the drug was a performance enhancer, she replied: "Absolutely not, it is taken as Aspirin in Russia, so I can't even grasp my head around that fact, and when I started taking it I took it under my doctor's orders, and that's how i'd been taking it for years."

The interviewer then proceeded by asking Sharapova if she thought the ITF were in fact 'making an example' of her. It was a question to which she answered: "I never wanted to believe that, but I'm starting to think that".

Since the year 2004, Sharapova has won an amazing five Grand Slam titles, and in that time has amassed a gargantuan fortune in prize money totaling £28.9 million.

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Rafael Nadal
Venus Williams
Maria Sharapova
Roger Federer
Serena Williams
Andy Murray

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