Maria Sharapova formally filed her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on 14 June. There are only three weeks left until the opening of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Hopes that the popular Tennis player would be able to play at Rio faded when she was banned earlier this month for a two-year period. However, the tennis star who fought so hard to get to the top her game is still fighting and still hopes to lift the ban in time for the Rio Games.

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Ruling before Rio 2016.

Maria’s name has been put forward by the Russian team to represent them at Tennis in Rio. According to Radio Free Europe, the Court of Arbitration has agreed to come up with a ruling on her appeal before the Olympic Games begin. She is hoping for either a total overturning of the International Tennis Federation ban, or at least a reduction of the length of the ban. She had already served a provisional ban for being found to have consumed a banned drug.

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Steep ban.

When Sharapova announced after the Australian Open in January that she had tested positive for taking meldonium, which had been put on the banned list that same month, she took full responsibility for failing to check on the new drug listings. Even though she fronted up and apologized, and the fact that the initial hearing found she had not deliberately taken the drug to enhance her performance, the two year ban was slapped on her. This was half of what the ITF was asking for, but fans and Maria felt it was an excessively long ban.

Get a new life.

Stuff New Zealand published an interesting interview with Karen Nimmo, a sports psychologist who said that emotionally the ban might be a good thing for Maria, as she knows the terrible demands that are placed on star players who suffer throughrelentless expectations, the hurt of criticism, the quest for approval, the struggle to build an identity outside of sport.” She went on to say that the rigorous life of tennis stars is so regimented that they have to live every moment according to standards demanded by coaches, sponsors and the Federations themselves.

She intimated that if Maria has to serve her ban she might get to experience a more normal lifestyle. That is very true, but Maria has never been a normal person. Maria started playing tennis when she was just four years old and her phenomenal success kept her in the game until her recent fall from grace. Despite articles suggesting she has healthy friendships outside of the game, she knows little else. It is doubtful she will just give up and get another life.

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Olympic silver 2012.

Certainly Russia is hoping that she will not get another life just yet. They want her in the Rio team. The Grand Slam winner was ranked #1 in the world five different times and held that ranking for 21weeks in total. She has played at the Olympics before and in 2012 she brought home the silver medal after reaching the finals. She faced off against Serena Williams, and was thrashed, but that is the way of sporting superstars. Even Serena has suffered thrashings during her career.

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Global fans.

If Maria Sharapova can obtain some leniency from CAS, hopes are very high that she can play at the Rio Games and fans are hoping to see her cinch another medal. Despite the fact that if she does play, she will represent the Russian team, loyal fans come from a global community.

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