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Maria Sharapova Suspended 2 Years For Doping ... Vows to Fight It

6/8/2016 8:12 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0608-maria-sharapova-getty-01Maria Sharapova was just hit with a TWO YEAR BAN by the International Tennis Federation for doping ... but she claims it's "unfair" and vows to appeal. 

The ITF just issued a statement saying Sharapova's urine tested positive for meldonium -- a metabolic modulator that's prohibited in the sport. 

The ITF says it cut Sharapova a break when it comes to the punishment because she "promptly admitted" to the offense. Instead of starting the 2-year ban today, they will backdate the suspension to January 26 -- the date of the sample collection.

The ITF also ruled that her results at the 2016 Australian Open should be disqualified -- and she must forfeit her ranking points and prize money that she won at that event.

For her part, Sharapova says she did NOT intentionally use the substance -- and wants her fans to know she should not be considered a cheater.

"The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not," Sharapova said in a statement.

"You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation -- and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position."

Sharapova says she will fight the decision -- "I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension ... I will immediately appeal the suspension."

"I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible."

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Serena Williams Inside My Insane Paris Apt ... Booze, Shoes & Trophies

5/16/2016 10:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Good news ... Serena Williams is finally recovered from that whole dog food mishap (R.I.P. toilet) -- and just showed off the inside of her HUUUUGE apartment in Paris -- and it's awesome. 

First off, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world when it comes to real estate -- so when you see the size of this place, you know Serena dropped SERIOUS CASH to buy it. 

You gotta see the video tour Serena gives ... showing off everything from her renovated kitchen to her bar area ... and her awesome closet -- straight out of 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.'

FYI, Serena reportedly made $25 million last year. 

#ItsGoodToBeRich

Richard Branson I Smashed My Teeth With a Tennis Racket

5/10/2016 8:03 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0510-main-branson-virgin-01File Under: "When Tennis Goes Very VERY Wrong."

Here's the smashed face of Virgin billionaire Richard Branson ... moments after he bashed himself in the mouth with a tennis racket -- in a leisure activity gone bad. 

Branson says he was playing a match on the tennis court at the insane Moskito Island resort in the British Virgin Islands -- when he took a swing and accidentally ate racket. 

"I went for a lob…and somehow ended up smashing my two front teeth with my racquet! I’ve heard of tennis elbow, but this was tennis teeth. As you can see from the photo, it was not pretty."

Branson says he contacted a local dentist who fixed his grill -- and he was back out on the court the next day. 

Meantime, check out the island resort where the accident went down ... it's good to be mega-rich. 

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Jimmy Connors Defends Indian Wells CEO 'One Loose Statement, Let It Go'

3/28/2016 7:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Tennis legend Jimmy Connors wants everyone to BACK OFF former Indian Wells CEO Ray Moore -- saying his sexist rant was just a "loose statement" and people need to "let it go."

Moore resigned last week after ranting that male stars carry the sport -- saying, "If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born."

"Ray's my friend," Connors told us outside of Madeo ... "He's been my friend for 50 years."

"The guy makes a mistake. He says one loose thing ... but look at everything he's done on the positive side for tennis, women's tennis, men's tennis in general."

"Some guys make a loose statement," he added ... "Let it go, look at the positive things he's done and move on."

We also asked Connors how he felt about Maria Sharapova's suspension after testing positive for a banned substance -- he called it "interesting" and said, "You gotta do what it takes to be good."

Maria Sharapova Bikini Weekend w/ Chelsea Handler ... Tests Positive for Hotness

3/28/2016 6:43 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0328_maria_sharapova_handler_beach_launchNow that she's got free time (thanks to that suspension) tennis superstar Maria Sharapova ran for the border this weekend ... spending her Easter in a bikini with Chelsea Handler

The two were spotted in an exclusive area of Cabo San Lucas -- where they took in some sun, took out a boat ... and even rapped together. 

The 28-year-old was provisionally banned from tennis after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium ... but it seems she's treating the whole thing more like a vacation than a punishment. 

Ole!!!

Maria Sharapova Dissed By United Nations ... We Don't Like Cheaters!

3/15/2016 7:48 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0315-mariah-sharapova-GETTY-01Even the United Nations is cutting ties with Maria Sharapova ... with the UN's Development Program announcing it's suspended its relationship with her after her failed drug test. 

The NYC-based group issued a statement saying, "In light of Ms. Sharapova's recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues."

The group says it "remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery."

Maria has been an ambassador for the UNDP since 2007 -- and had a good working relationship with her foundation. 

The UN is just the latest group to distance itself from Sharapova -- following Nike, Porsche and TAG. 

Maria Sharapova Squeezing In Beach Tennis ... Before Doping Suspension

3/9/2016 5:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0309_maria-sharpova_splash-2She's about to be suspended from the court ... but Maria Sharapova still has the beach -- and today, she grabbed her racket to hit some balls on the sand. 

Despite the fact Nike suspended her deal in the wake of her failed drug test, Maria was sporting Swoosh pants and shoes on an L.A. beach Wednesday afternoon ... with a smile on her face. 

Maria admitted she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open back in January -- and the International Tennis Federation has announced she'll be provisionally suspended starting March 12th. 

In the meantime, might as well get a tan right? 

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Novak Djokovic I Won't Turn My Back on Sharapova

3/9/2016 6:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Novak Djokovic says he "feels" for tennis superstar Maria Sharapova -- telling TMZ Sports he hopes she's able to overcome her drug suspension and come back even stronger than before. 

Djokovic was at the Lakers game Tuesday night (he's a big Kobe fan) when we asked about the biggest story in his sport ... Sharapova failing a doping test. 

The news has damaged Sharapova's deals with her huge sponsors like Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche ... which are all distancing themselves from the tennis superstar. 

So, how does Djokovic feel about the situation??

He feels bad for Maria ... but he won't turn his back on her.  

Check out the clip. 

Novak Djokovic Forget Cars ... I Pimped Out My Drone!!

3/5/2016 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0304-novak-djokovic-drone-GETTY-TMZSPORTS-01How do you make a drone fly? Slap some custom paint on it!!

That's what tennis superstar Novak Djokovic just did to his personal aircraft -- sending his drone to one of the most famous car customizers in the world for a personalized pimp job. 

We spoke with Alex Vega of the Autofirm in Miami (the same guy who pimped out Yoenis Cespedes' rides) ... who tells us Novak's drone is the first one he's ever worked on. 

"The #1 tennis player in the world Novak Djokovic contacted me and wanted me to customize his drone so he can fly it over his tennis match this weekend (The Davis Cup)."

"His sponsor California Date sent him the drone and he wanted to get it custom painted so I used an Avorza edition yellow and aqua green ... which are the colors of his sponsor."

So, how much does it cost to pimp your drone? 

Roughly $500. 

#HeCanAffordIt

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Mike Tyson Daughter Praised By Tennis Legend ... I'd Train Her

3/2/2016 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

How talented is Mike Tyson's daughter Milan at tennis? So talented that an ex-tennis star says he'd be willing to take the little crusher under his wing ... and train her to be the next Serena. 

Former Wimbledon champ Goran Ivanisevic was in L.A. when we showed him some video of 7-year-old Milan flashing her skills ... and asked if he thought she had the goods.

Goran knows talent ... he currently coaches Croatian star Marin Cilic and was in his corner when Cilic took home the 2014 U.S. Open championship.

Ivanisevic liked what he saw ... saying he'd definitely be willing to give the little tyke some tutelage ... if Mike and Milan are willing to make the short trip over to Croatia.

Hey Mike ... buy a coat, make the trip.

Serena Williams Double Faults At Dancing ... Is Still A Badass

2/22/2016 7:13 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Listen, we all love Serena Williams. We all know she's succeeded in almost everything she's done including fashion design, tennis, and modeling.

We said ALMOST.

Here's Serena dancing at what looks to be some type of hip-hop or interpretive dance class and the reality is ... she's a really great tennis player.

Looks like SW and Venus are due to hit up the class together next week so who knows ... maybe she's more of a doubles player when it comes to the art of the dance.

#ElaineSwag.

Mike Tyson Crushing Tennis Swing But My Daughter's Better!

2/11/2016 6:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Here's Mike Tyson absolutely MASHING tennis balls during a lesson with his 7-year-old daughter -- who, by the way, is a frickin' PRODIGY!!!  

Mike and Milan grabbed their rackets and went all smashy smashy -- Mike's form may not be the best, but you can see the insane power in his forehand and backhand swing. 

But check out Milan -- who says her idol is Serena Williams -- and she's already winning youth tourneys with her impressive play! 

... and if the tennis thing doesn't work out -- she's also got potential as a boxer!

Justin Bieber See the Ball ... Be the Ball

1/11/2016 9:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0111-justin-bieber-fameflynet-01Justin Bieber is damn serious about his stroke, so serious ... he's seeking professional help.

Justin was taking tennis lessons this weekend in L.A., concentrating on his forehand. We've already seen Sporty Biebs kill it in hockey, skateboarding, ping pong and hoops. Remember, he already has an MVP trophy from an NBA Celebrity All-Star game.

Anyway, tennis is a way better pastime than pissing off Mayan Gods by pulling down your pants -- so kudos to Bieber. 

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