Tennis Maria Sharapova: CAS ruling one of my happiest days

Five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova is counting down the days until she can return to tennis after CAS reduced her doping ban.

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Maria Sharapova says the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) decision to reduce her doping ban from two years to 15 months has provided her with "one of my happiest days".

The Russian was initially suspended until January 2018, after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at this year's Australian Open.

However, Sharapova claimed to be unaware that meldonium had been added to WADA's prohibited list at the start of 2016 and an appeal to CAS has resulted in her sanction being reduced by nine months.

Sharapova will therefore be free to return to the court in April 2017 and said in a statement: "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.

"In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back.

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

Reacting to the news, WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement: "The TADP has a comprehensive and fair process in place and we support the final result. We are pleased that the process is now at completion and can look forward to seeing Maria back on court in 2017."

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