Tennis Sharapova: ITF tried to make example of me with ban

Maria Sharapova believes the International Tennis Federation (ITF) may have been trying to make an example of her with her doping ban.

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Maria Sharapova believes the International Tennis Federation (ITF) may have been trying to make an example of her with her doping ban.

The Russian's suspension was cut from two years to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday.

Sharapova, 29, has been critical of the ITF's handling of the case and feels the body may have used her.

Asked on the Charlie Rose Show if she felt she was being made an example of, Sharapova said: "I never wanted to believe that but I am starting to think that."

The five-time grand-slam champion insists meldonium is not a performance-enhancing drug despite being added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list.

Sharapova, who said the drug was taken as aspirin in Russia, felt the ITF wanted an even longer ban in place.

"I got a 24-month suspension but they wanted four years for me. The ITF wanted to ban me for four years," she said.

"I went through the ITF arbitration which was chosen by the ITF. I'm in a hearing knowing that the people I am speaking to were chosen by the people I am in a fight with. That's not neutral.

"CAS is neutral and this is what CAS awarded."

Sharapova's ban expires in April 2017.

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