"There were no big winners here" - Jon Wertheim analyses decision to reduce Maria Sharapova's ban

Sports Illustrated journalist speaks to Off The Ball

BY Raf Diallo 20:55 Tuesday 4 October 2016, 20:55 4 Oct 2016

Picture by: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

In her own words, October 4th 2016 will go down as "one of the happiest days" for Maria Sharapova.

Earlier, the Russian tennis star had her two-year doping ban reduced to 15 months today after a panel for the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that her anti-doping violation feel under the category of "no significant fault" but that she bore some degree of personal fault.

The 29-year-old had appealed her two-year ban after testing positive for recently banned substance meldonium.

On her Facebook page, the multiple Grand Slam champion wrote: "Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other Federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through." 

Off The Ball were joined by Jon Wertheim from Sports Illustrated to discuss the case and explained that "in theory they could have whacked this down to time served, they could have whacked this down to a year, so the fact that this was 15 months, it is a reduction of nine months but it was not the most lenient conclusion they could have drawn".

He added that "there were no big winners here".

"Sharapova's in a much better place today than she was yesterday but I'm not sure this is quite the rousing victory it's being portrayed as," he said. 

As for her return to tennis. Her current ban expires next April which means her first Grand Slam of 2017 will be the French Open.

"Her ranking is going to be very, very low but she'll be able to get wildcards to various events and that I guess will include the French Open," he said.

"What's going to be interesting to me is to see whether she'll be playing exhibitions, which are unsanctioned events but can be competitive nonetheless."

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