Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Has Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova joined Harvard Business School to pursue a degree programme?

It would seem so, after the five-time Grand Slam winner posted a photo on her official Facebook page Saturday saying, "Not sure how this happened but hey Harvard! Can't wait to start the programme!"

In a massive blow to her tennis career, Sharapova, 29, was handed a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation on June 8 after testing positive for banned drug Meldonium during the Australian Open earlier this year.

The ban, which will be back-dated to Jan 26 this year, meaning the results of the Australian Open where she reached the quarter-finals, would be disqualified.

Sharapova, the world's highest-paid female athlete said she had been taking the drug for a decade to treat diabetes and low magnesium.

Know more: Tennis star Sharapova faces suspension after failing drug test

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances at the start of the year after evidence that it boosted blood flow and enhanced athletic performance.

The ITF's anti-doping program calls for a four-year suspension for a positive test, but that ban can be reduced in various circumstances, such as for first-time offences or if the player shows no significant fault or negligence. If a player bears no fault or negligence, there is no suspension.

Sharapova has also planned to appeal her ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension," Sharapova said earlier.

"The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport," she said.

Sharapova has 35 WTA singles titles and has won all four of the sport's grand slam titles.

Her career earnings amount to $36 million while her off-court earnings, according to Forbes, are around $200 million.

After the ban, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer cut its ties with Sharapova while other brands such as Nike and Porsche distanced themselves from her.

The ban means she will miss this year's Wimbledon championships, the title she won as a teenager to launch her career into orbit in 2004, and the Rio Olympics.