Sharapova is no doubt thrilled to get back to the court much sooner, after her sentence for a banned substance was reduced. Photograph: (Getty)
The Russian tennis star will be back on the court in time for Wimbledon and the French Open in 2017
Maria Sharapova’s punishment will be reduced by nine months, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced, ruling that the original penalty was disproportionately harsh for an infraction that Sharapova committed unintentionally.
Sharapova, 29, tested positive for meldonium, a heart medication newly banned by antidoping regulators, at the Australian Open in January. She publicly disclosed the violation in March, days after she was privately notified of the lab results.
Sharapova's two-year doping ban has been reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"I am counting the days until I can return to the court," she said.
She will now be eligible to return to international competition on April 25, 2017, a week after her 30th birthday and in time for both the French Open and Wimbledon.
Under the previous ruling, she would have been suspended until January 25, 2018. Whil she is no doubt thrilled about the vast reduction of her sentence, much damage has already been done; Sharapova had to miss the 2016 Rio Olympics and this year's final grand slam, the US Open.
Sharapova has won five Grand Slam titles, and captured the silver in singles tennis at the Olympic Games in London, 2012.
(Wion, with inputs from Reuters)