May 18, 2016, was fixed as the date that the Maria Sharapova drug hearing would start in London. The hearing, which could result in her being banned from professional Tennis for anything from six months to a year, is expected to end on Thursday and is being held in a secret venue, the Independent reports.

No word since March.

There is such a tight lid being kept on the proceedings that there is almost no information out there for fans who anxiously await the outcome, many of whom believe that the banning of the drug was rushed through without enough research. Maria has 15,467,601 fan page likes on her Facebook page, but apart from a long message back in March when Maria pointed out that the banning of the drug was mainly slotted into websites, newsletters, and handouts, and that she takes full responsibility for not reading everything about melodonium, there is no other word from her.

Even her Twitter page is silent on the subject. Her main website communication ended with a letter thanking her fans for their support back on the 9th March.

Scores of melodonium athletes.

When melodonium was listed by the Anti-doping Agency at the beginning of the year, the sports world barely rippled until Maria announced on March 7th that she had been tested positive for the banned drug. In a press statement she said that she had not actually read the new WADA 2016 update, which led to her provisional suspension from professional tennis on 12 March. Since then, it has been revealed that scores of athletes, mainly from Ethiopia and the Russian sphere, have also tested positive for the drug, which is not licensed in the USA.

Igor Mikhalkin, a professional boxer is the most recent to be tangled up in a melodonium drug test, and according to reports on 11 April, by the BBC, he was suspended for two years.

Weeks to wait.

It will be several weeks before the world will find out what the result of the hearing will be, and when it breaks – either way – it will be a hot topic.

Several major sponsors did not wait beyond her admission that she had failed a test, to dump her in the flurry of Oscar Pistorius style knee-jerk hate that erupted. Nike, the UN, Tag Heuer, and Porsche were first out the door, but Head, who make the rackets she uses, stood by her, as did Evian. Both of them took the stance that her transparency and forthright admission about using the drug were in her favor.

Pro tennis player support.

There is little support for Maria from other tennis stars – well little that has been reported. Mainstream media focused on those who either don’t personally like her or those who really could not jeopardize their own positions with their sponsors, by speaking up for her. Others, like Chris Evert, think that few tennis stars have come forward to support her because she keeps to herself outside of the tour circuit. While this may be seen as Maria deliberately living a balanced life, others came out slapping at her. The overall status of pro-player reaction seems to be that it is very sad when the sport is tainted by drug use. As mentioned by the Mirror, this could be the long-term fall-out of Andre Agassi’s failed test for crystal meth in 1997.

He was not sanctioned at the time but made fools of the ATP in his personal biography where he confessed he lied about taking it

Fighting for her career.

What we do know is that Sharapova has been taking the melodonium drug for ten years, apparently for medical reasons, and has been importing it quite openly and in accordance with USA laws. She is fighting for her career right now, and her hopes of playing in the Rio Olympics look dismal. Nevertheless, despite the controversy, closed doors, and the secrecy, Maria Sharapova has a lot of worldwide fans rooting for her during this difficult time.

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