The absence of Maria Sharapova at major tournaments has a negative impact on the world of tennis, Russian Olympic Champion Elena Vesnina has said. The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday reduced to 15 months Sharapova’s two-year suspension, which came into effect on January 26. Sharapova is now eligible to officially return to tennis courts starting April 26 next year, reports Tass. “This is definitely a good news,” Vesnina said. “We are badly missing Maria in the tournament race because she is a tennis player of a very high level.”
“It would have been unfair to hand over a lengthy suspension term for such weak (performance enhancing) medication. We do all understand that she violated regulations, doping is doping, but giving two-year suspension is undoubtedly a very strong punishment,”she added.
Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS on June 9 against her two-year suspension, which was officially confirmed on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) tribunal over anti-doping violations. Due to the ban, Sharapova had to miss the 2016 Rio Olympics in August.