29-year-old Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova failed a doping test at the Australian Open in January. The heart disease drug known as Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list on 1 January.
The International Tennis Federation panel could issue a four-year-ban but experts say a six to 12 months punishment is more likely.
That is because Wada admitted in April that there was a lack of scientific evidence about how long meldonium stayed in the system and it suggested athletes who tested positive for the substance before 1 March could avoid bans, provided they had stopped taking it before 1 January.
However, Sharapova said she had continued taking it past that date as she was unaware it had been added to the banned list as she knew it by another name – mildronate.
The former world number one also admitted she had failed to properly read advice sent out by anti-doping authorities ahead of the ban. Maria will face the panel today in London.