Maria Sharapova doping case: Appeal to be heard this week, verdict expected before Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova, provisionally suspended since March for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open, will have her appeal heard in London on Wednesday, reports say.

Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated and other reliable sources posted on social media that the hearing into her positive drug test will take place on 18th May and will be spread over two days at least.

Once the hearing is completed, it will probably take around two weeks for the findings to be made public. So, the verdict will only be known by the end of June, possibly in time for Wimbledon. Russian officials want Sharapova to represent their country at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

Sharapova was provisionally suspended after announcing on 8 March that she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January.

The Russian said she had been prescribed the blood-flow boosting drug since 2006, and had been unaware the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had prohibited its use from 1 January, 2016.

While Sharapova could be banned for as long as four years, she will appeal for a lesser suspension at the hearing. Recently, WADA changed its guidance on meldonium doping, saying athletes could be cleared if only minute traces of the drug were found in their system.

In April, more than 14 athletes from Russia and Georgia had their doping suspensions lifted after the relaxed guidelines.

Meanwhile, Sharapova seems unperturbed by the possibility of a suspension, posting pictures of her practice regularly on social media. She has been busy off-court — from launching a new chocolate candy line to attending the Met Gala in New York — the provisional suspension hasn't hampered her spirits.

Whoa, first fist pump in a while!! 👊🏻

A video posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Hair and Make Up by my friends @hairbyadir and @karayoshimotobua #metgala

A photo posted by Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova) on

Sharapova was unable to defend her title in Rome last week but posted this message from her fans who were present at the event despite her absence.

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Updated Date: May 16, 2016 19:16:50 IST

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