How does the Maria Sharapova ban affect tennis' standing on the issue of anti-doping?

Off The Ball speak to Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated

How does the Maria Sharapova ban affect tennis' standing on the issue of anti-doping?

Picture by: Aaron Favila / AP/Press Association Images

Unless Maria Sharapova can overturn the two-year ban imposed on her today, she won't take to a tennis court in a professional capacity again until January 2018.

But what is the potential impact of the ban on the player and the sport?

Jon Wertheim, the executive editor and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated joined Off The Ball tonight to react to today's decision and analyse the consequences for the Russian and the wider sport in general.

"This was a big decision today and honestly, if Sharapova had gotten off, it would have raised a lot of eyebrows," he said.

"It was inconceivable that there wouldn't be some punishment but two years is a long time and in an awful kind of way, it's actually a good day for tennis. The optics would have been really bad if she had gotten off."

Wertheim also felt that the published report into the Sharapova case was "pretty damning" in its conclusions and feels that she will have to "answer some difficult questions at appeal level as well".