Career Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova announced this afternoon that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January.
Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for several health issues. The substance has been legal for the past 10 years until it was added to a banned list effective Jan. 1, 2016 — information Sharapova says she was unaware of.
“I did fail the test, and I take full responsibility for it,” she said during a news conference held in Los Angeles. “Throughout my long career, I’ve been open and honest about many things. I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job every day, and I made a huge mistake. I’ve let my fans down. I’ve let this sport down …”
BREAKING: Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova announces she failed a drug test at the Australian Open https://t.co/lYIcky1eob
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) March 7, 2016
Sharapova said she received a letter from the International Tennis Foundation with the news just a few days ago and does not know the consequences she will face.
Sharapova made her most recent on-court appearance at January’s Australian Open, where she lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. She showed no signs of injury during her opening match at the Australian Open. The No. 5 seed beat Japan’s Nao Hibino in an impressive showing, taking the match in straight sets.
Throughout the tournament, Sharapova wore the NikeCourt Maria Premier tennis dress and Nike Zoom Vapor sneakers. The Russian tennis star has been with brand for more than 10 years, and in 2010, she extended the contract for eight years for a whopping $70 million — making her the highest-paid female athlete.
Sharapova’s injury-prone career has taken her out of the No. 1 seed and limited her Grand Slam wins.
“I know that with this I face consequences, and I don’t want to end my carer this way. I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game,” she said.