Banned Sharapova to take care of business at Harvard

Maria Sharapova, who is serving a two-year doping ban from tennis, has announced that she will be attending a course run by the Harvard Business School.
Maria Sharapova, who is serving a two-year doping ban from tennis, has announced that she will be attending a course run by the Harvard Business School.

LOS ANGELES • Maria Sharapova plans to make good use of the time on her hands, thanks to a two-year doping ban from tennis.

The Russian tennis star, a savvy businesswoman whose commercial interests include her Sugarpova brand of candy, which sells chocolates and gummy snacks internationally, indicated on social media on Monday that she would be attending a Harvard Business School course.

Sharapova posted a photo of herself in front of a sign for the prestigious school on her Facebook page.

"Not sure how this happened but Hey Harvard! Can't wait to start the programme!" she wrote, adding a graduation cap symbol.

Her agent, Max Eisenbud, said that the programme involves two classes on campus. He was not clear what certification, if any, Sharapova would earn from the coursework.

Massachusetts-based Harvard has yet to comment on the matter.

Sharapova, 29, has vowed to appeal against a two-year doping ban stemming from a positive test for meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list in January.

The former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam singles champion has said she had been prescribed the drug for 10 years, and did not realise it had been banned as a potential performance enhancer.

While the scandal rattled some of her numerous sponsors, many, including apparel giant Nike, have stuck by her.

She remains one of the world's highest earning sportswomen.

She topped the Forbes list for 11 years before rival Serena Williams surpassed her on the list released this month with US$28.9 million (S$39.1 million) in total earnings over the past 12 months to Sharapova's US$21.9 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Banned Sharapova to take care of business at Harvard'. Print Edition | Subscribe