Report by ITV News reporters Duncan Golestani

Maria Sharapova has received a two-year ban from tennis after testing positive for a banned substance.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) have backdated the punishment, meaning the ban will end on January 25 2018.

A test taken from the Russian at the Australian Open in January was found to contain meldonium.

The maximum punishment for her violation would have been a four-year suspension, which the five-time Grand Slam winner has avoided. However, at age 29, the sanction could still spell the end for her tennis career.

The ITF found "no diagnosis or therapeutic advice" for Sharapova to be taking meldonium.

Sharapova says she will fight the two-year suspension following the ruling on Wednesday.

A statement from Sharapova published on Facebook read: "Today with their decision of a two year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional. The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance enhancing substance.

"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. 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.

"While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans, who are the best and most loyal fans in the world. I have read your letters. I have read your social media posts and your love and support has gotten me through these tough days. 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."

The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has also given its reaction to the ruling, saying it will decide whether or not to use its independent right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said:

WADA acknowledges the decision issued today by the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Independent Tribunal which found that Maria Sharapova committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the use of banned substance Meldonium, and that, as a consequence, a period of ineligibility of two years has been imposed, commencing on 26 January 2016.

Ben Nichols, WADA

Speaking after being knocked out of the Nottingham Open, former world number one, Caroline Wozniacki spoke of the ban, lamenting that today "is a sad day for her [Sharapova], but also for tennis in general".

Caroline Wozniacki speaks at the Nottingham Open Credit: ITV News

The tennis star spoke of the ITF's strong drugs and anti-doping policy, adding that she did not believe it was a major problem within tennis and that players are tested "almost everywhere we go and even at home".

It was this stringent policy which made tennis a "drug free sport" allowing players to compete on "fair grounds", she continued.