According to reports, former tennis number one Maria Sharapova will come back as a United Nations goodwill ambassador. This will happen right after her suspension ends, in April 2017. The 29-year-old superstar initially received a two-year ban from tennis after she was tested positive for a substance called meldonium. The forbidden substance was found in her after the Australian Open Grand Slam, back in January. The ITF reduced her suspension last month, when she won the appeal with the highest sports court. Now, Sharapova will be able to compete again starting from April 2017.
A UN goodwill ambassador
Maria Sharapova signed the partnership with the UN back in 2007. And the United Nations’ Development Programme was reportedly very glad that one of their number one figures for goodwill will be able to return to sport and, subsequently, to her ambassador position. A spokesperson for UN said that they cannot wait to work with Maria Sharapova again after her ban expires. Also, that they will further discuss her role and engagement with United Nations’ Development Programme.
Banned from tennis
Maria Sharapova received a ban from tennis after she admitted to taking the forbidden substance, but unwillingly. She did now know that the IFT put the substance on the forbidden list. Se had been taking meldonium for ten years straight, as it helped her with a heart disease. But in March, the UN also stripped her of her role as a goodwill ambassador. At the time, they said in an official statement that they will forever remain grateful for Sharapova’s implication. Especially in the situation revolving around the Cernobyl disaster. But they announced that they would suspend her activity until the investigation would have been finished.
But some of Sharapova’s biggest sponsors stood by her during those difficult times. After the news broke out, her racquet sponsor Head and sportswear company Nike, along with water Evian said that they would support the tennis star, as she did was unintentional.
Criticized by many
Current number 1 tennis player Andy Murray criticized their decision at the time, especially as Head is his racquet sponsor too. According to him, they should have waited for more information before supporting Sharapova in the given circumstance. As have other big tennis stars who have said that her ban justified. In their opinion, if you make a mistake, you have to pay for it. No matter what is your name.
Maria Sharapova is one of the former number one players in history of tennis. She was born in Russia but in 1994 moved to the United States to pursue a career in tennis. Now, she is a U.S. citizen and is living in Florida. In 2004, she won her first Grand Slam title, at Wimbledon by beating Serena Williams in the final. Later, in 2006 she won the US Open and in 2008 the Australian Open. She is also won the French Open two times, in 2012 and in 2014. This year, she is expected to make her comeback just before the French Open. She will not have a rank, as she lost all of her points since she was banned. But as a former number one, Sharapova will have an unlimited number of wildcards. So she can use those to enter major tournaments.
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