Drug-related bans: Five sports stars who took their second chance

Maria Sharapova has been granted a wild card to compete in the 2017 US Open. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Sharapova received a 15-month ban from tennis after she tested positive for meldonium. Since her suspension expired in April, she has played in four competitions and is set to make her first appearance in a major since 2016's Australian Open after accepting a US Open wildcard.

Here, ESPN looks at five sports stars who have managed a successful comeback after being dealt a drug-related suspension.

Justin Gatlin

The five-time Olympic medallist has been termed the villain of athletics due to his two drug-related bans. The first was in 2001 after testing positive for amphetamines which he stated were used for medication to deal with an attention deficit disorder.

As if that wasn't tarnish enough, Gatlin was banned again in 2006 for testing positive for testosterone.

His initial eight-year suspension was reduced to four years in December 2007 and he has since been victorious in multiple races. He took the 100m silver medal in 2016's Olympic games before beating Bolt by 0.03 seconds over the same distance in this year's World Championships final.

Shane Warne

The Australian cricket legend was sent home from his country's World Cup squad in Feb. 2003 after returning a positive drugs test for a banned diuretic; moduretic.

Warne claimed that his mother gave him the drug to improve his appearance in front of cameras ready for when he announced his retirement from ODIs, which was imminent.

Despite him and his mother both giving evidence against a three-man committee, the evidence was ruled "vague" and "inconsistent" and therefore he received a one-year ban from organised cricket.

The spin bowler served his ban, returned to action in 2004 and then played Test cricket until 2007. He cemented his name at the top of Australia's wicket-taking leader board with an astounding total of 708 Test wickets.

Richard Gasquet

The current world No. 29 was provisionally suspended after testing positive for cocaine in May 2009. However, he wasn't sat out for long as he was allowed to return to competitive tennis again just two months later in July.

The Frenchman convinced an independent anti-doping tribunal that he ingested the Class A substance by kissing a woman he had just met. The tribunal ruled: "We take into account that the amount of cocaine in the player's body was so small that if he had best tested only a few hours later, his test result would be likely to have been negative."

Since the 2009 debacle, Gasquet has risen to a career high world No. 7 and has reached two major semifinals along with claiming 10 ATP tour titles.

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali, the brother of Anthony Joshua's recent opponent Wladimir Klitschko, tested positive for a banned substance in 1996 when he was an amateur boxer preparing to represent his country, Ukraine, in the Olympics. However, he was thrown off the team before competition began and his potential career as a professional boxer seemed all but over.

Fortunately for Vitali, the incident was only a minor blip in a triumphant career. He turned professional in Nov. 1996 and enjoyed an illustrious 17-year career which saw him not only claim the WBO and WBC world heavyweight belts but also defend them multiple times.

He eventually retired in 2012 ending with a record 45 wins, 41 of which by knockout and only two defeats.

Rio Ferdinand

The former Manchester United skipper didn't actually fail a drugs test but an independent tribunal found him guilty of misconduct after he missed a scheduled one in Sept. 2003. He did undergo a test the following day -- of which he passed -- but it wasn't enough to restrict the FA from suspending him.

An eight-month banned was imposed from Jan. 2004 meaning Ferdinand would miss the rest of the season along with Euro 2004 and doubts over his professionalism tainted.

However, he recovered from the setback, scoring his first United goal on Dec. 14 2005 following his return. He went on to make 455 appearances for the club over 12 seasons whiile also earning both the United and England captaincy.