Oct 05, 2016 05:40 PM EDT

Tennis Superstar Maria Sharapova: Eligible to Play in 2017 After Drug Use Suspension

By C. Pontejos
2016 Australian Open - Day 9
Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand in her quarter final match against Serena Williams of the United States during day nine of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo : (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images))

Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has recently received the results of her appeal on shortened suspension for her drug use issue, which surfaced last March.

The five-time grand slam champion tested positive at the recent Australian Open for a prohibited substance called "meldonium". This drug is believed to be primarily used to treat heart diseases but experts are still in disarray as to whether this drug greatly enhances an athlete's performance.

Sharapova and her agent, Max Eisenbud, previously testified that they were unacquainted of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s recent list of banned substances. Based on reports from E!, the 29-year-old athlete has been under medication since 2006 because of certain health concerns.

With this, the court ruled a two-year suspension preventing the Russian tennis player from playing in any professional league. However, Sharapova disclosed on Tuesday that their camp's appeal has been granted and her two-year suspension was shortened, making her eligible to play on April 25, 2017.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport trimmed down her penalty to 15 months after further investigations considering Sharapova's claims of "unintended violation".

Sharapova expressed her relief and excitement saying, "I've gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days, as I found out I can return to tennis in April."

"Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court," she added.

Sharapova is the only Russian to hold a career grand slam in Tennis. She previously participated and won in Wimbledon, Australian, French, and US open. She is also an Olympic silver medalist in the 2012 London Olympics.

She became the world top-ranked female tennis player for the first time on August 22, 2005, at the age of 18. Currently, she is on the 95 rank at the Women's Tennis Association.

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