Maria Sharapova can start playing tennis again in April.
That was the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday after hearing an appeal from Sharapova over her two-year doping ban. The court reduced the Russian tennis star’s suspension to 15 months after determining that she acted with “no significant fault.”
In a 28-page decision, the independent panel said the suspension imposed by the International Tennis Federation for Sharapova’s use of the banned drug meldonium was reduced, in part, because “under no circumstances … can the player be considered to be an ‘intentional’ doper.”
With the penalty backdated to when she tested positive at the Australian Open in late January, Sharapova will be able to compete in April. She will miss each of tennis’ Grand Slams once through suspension and be eligible to pursue her sixth major title starting with the 2017 French Open.