This is one happy day for Maria Sharapova as she just got the official word that her original two-year ban from playing professional Tennis has been shortened to 15 months. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they have decided to reduce her sentence that was placed previously by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in March. The five-time Grand Slam champ had tested positive in January for meldonium, which she had been taking for many years and was prescribed by her physician.

The CAS explains their new ruling

The tennis pro thought that she would have to wait a full two years before she could get back onto the court to play her best game at the four Grand Slam events, as well as other major tournaments.

However, she is thrilled that even though she will still have to wait it out, this means that she could possibly end up competing in the French Open next year. The official date that she can compete, according to a report by CNN, is April 26, 2017.

The CAS said that they are ruling based on what is appropriate for the offense. Sharapova is still at fault and that she did indeed violate the anti-doping rule, but she bears a more limited degree of fault. The panel did stress that their decision was based solely on the degree of fault of her failure to keep up with the anti-doping rules which stated that the drug she is taking is not in compliance. She had apparently not read the mass email sent to players and their teams that this drug was added to the banned list.

Did she just throw shade at the ITF?

Maria Sharapova says that she is looking forward to slamming her way back onto the professional tennis circuit sooner than expected. However, she did mention in a statement that she hoped that the ITF will learn from this experience for the future of other players who may be in the same boat as she is.

She went on to say that she thought that other federations in other countries seemed to have a much better way of keeping their athletes informed of any banned list changes.

Is this throwing the ITF under the bus? Some people definitely think so. Former tennis pro Pam Shriver tweeted that Maria should just be grateful for the reduced ban and just go play some tennis.

What are your thoughts on this new ruling by the CAS? Will you be happy to see Maria back to playing tennis starting with the French Open?

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