Former World No. 1 tennis player Maria Sharapova, who was handed a two-year ban for using a banned substance in June, saw her ban reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday, and has been given the green signal to participate from April 2017.
"The Panel found that Ms Sharapova committed an anti-doping rule violation and that while it was with 'no significant fault', she bore some degree of fault, for which a sanction of fifteen months is appropriate," said a release from the CAS. "The Panel wishes to point out that the case it heard, and the award it has rendered, was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to the player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she had been taking over a long period remained in compliance with the anti-doping rules."
Sharapova appealed with her legal team to the CAS, who reduced her ban by nine months. The 29-year-old is free to participate in tennis from April 26, 2017 onward.
Sharapova was banned by the International Tennis Federation in January and had then promised to appeal against the decision, which she thought was "unfairly harsh". The five-time Gran Slam winner had also claimed that the tribunal, who had inspected her case cleared any charges of using a performance enhancing substance.
In a Facebook post, Sharapova stated that she was experiencing "one of her happiest days" after learning about her ban being truncated.