Story highlights

Some key questions answered in Sharapova case

Verdict not likely for months

Meldonium added to banned list this year

Sponsors reacting

CNN  — 

Maria Sharapova tested positive for a recently banned substance, meldonium, at January’s Australian Open and will be provisionally banned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on March 12.

A day after the bombshell news surrounding the world’s richest female athlete – the five-time grand slam winner’s estimated net worth is $195 million – we answer five key questions in the case.

So Sharapova admitted to failing the drug test. When will we find out her punishment?

If recent high-profile cases are any indication, authorities will take at least a couple of months to deliver a verdict.

Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, for example, refused to take a blood test in April 2013 at a tournament in Monte Carlo and when the ITF announced his punishment, it came in late July of the same year.

Marin Cilic’s urine sample showed a banned substance when he was at a tournament in Munich in late April 2013. In sanctioning the Croatian, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, the ITF announced his penalty five months later, in September.

The complexity of cases is a factor, as is the evidence that needs to be examined.

What kind of punishment could Sharapova get?

Banned substances are broken down into non-specified and specified. Meldonium falls into the former category and for a first-time offender like Sharapova, she can be hit with a four-year ban.

However, there is a way for the four-year suspension to be reduced, if it is established that the anti-doping rule violation wasn’t intentional. In that case, the most likely ban is two years.