The Exiles: How long-term bans impacted the careers of these 4 superstars
As Maria Sharapova returns to tennis, we recall how suspension from their sport affected other big names…
Cantona was banned for eight months after Kung Fu-kicking an abusive Crystal Palace supporter in January 1995 – an act that simultaneously damaged his career and added to his legend.
Without their talisman, Manchester United surrendered the league title and FA Cup to Blackburn Rovers and Everton respectively – their only trophy-less campaign in the Frenchman’s five years at Old Trafford.
Upon his return, United won their second double in three seasons, although something in the man had changed.
A volatile footballer who was regularly disciplined throughout his career, Cantona was neither sent off nor booked again before retiring in the summer of 1997 at the age of 30.
Ferdinand was banned for eight months after missing a drugs test in September 2003.
Then in his early twenties, the suspension did not prevent the then-Manchester United defender from fulfilling his potential.
Ferdinand, who was already a Premier League winner, lifted five more titles, three League Cups and the Champions League, as well as being made England captain.
It did, however, cost him an FA Cup winners’ medal and a place in England’s European Championship squad – two honours that would ultimately elude him for the remainder of his career.
Aged 25, Ali was banned from boxing for three years because he refused to be drafted into the US Army at the time of the Vietnam War.
He participated in the sport’s greatest ever fights upon returning – including the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thriller in Manila – and became its first ever three-time heavyweight world champion.
The American's political stand, meanwhile, subsequently helped him become the most iconic athlete of all time.
Ali’s time out of the ring cost him his legendary speed and reflexes, though.
As long-time trainer Angelo Dundee lamented: "He was robbed of his best years, his prime years."
Warne was banned for one year after testing positive for a banned diuretic that, he said, was given to him by his mother in order to improve his appearance on television cameras.
The spin bowler missed out as Australia retained the 2003 World Cup, but was reinstated as soon as his suspension was completed, where he went on to become just one of two players to take more than 1000 international wickets.
As for his appearance, after retiring from internationals in 2007, Warne got into himself into the best shape of his life.
So much so that spent a couple of years dating with English rose Elizabeth Hurley.
Good areas, Warney.