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Sharapova still faces hearing

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 14-04-2016 skysports.com

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The International Tennis Federation says Maria Sharapova is still facing a hearing after testing positive for meldonium, despite recent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pronouncements. 

The drug was added to WADA's banned list at the start of the year and five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova tested positive at the Australian Open.

However, WADA issued new guidance earlier this week which said that athletes who tested positive for meldonium before March 1 could have bans overturned, as the agency was unable to establish how quickly the drug cleared the human body.

The statement appeared to offer a lifeline to Sharapova, who is currently serving a provisional ban, but the ITF said on Thursday that the Russian still faces a hearing and possible sanctions.

The ITF statement read: "In light of the recent notice from WADA regarding the process for dealing with cases involving meldonium, the ITF can confirm that the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme case involving Maria Sharapova will proceed to a hearing in accordance with WADA's recommendations.

"The ITF does not intend to make any further statement until completion of this process due to the confidentiality of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

"The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is a comprehensive and internationally recognised drug-testing programme that applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP, and WTA.

"Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and, upon a finding that an Anti-Doping rule violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed in accordance with the requirements of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and World Anti-Doping Code."

Sharapova's lawyer John Haggerty was critical of WADA earlier in the week, saying: "Given the fact that scores of athletes have tested positive for taking what previously was a legal product, it's clear WADA did not handle this properly last year and they're trying to make up for it now."

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