Former tennis world number one, Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open in January.
The 28-year-old Russian was discovered to have failed a drug test as she tested positive for meldonium, a substance which she alleges she had been taking since 2006 for health issues.
“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it” said Sharapova, as she spoke to press men in downtown L.A.
“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the letter from the ITF [International Tennis Federation] I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know.” Sharapova explained.
The internet has however been abuzz with trolls after it was revealed that Sharapova provided the anti-doping sample in question on 26 January, the same day she lost to World number one -Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The World Anti-Doping Agency then analysed the sample and returned a positive for meldonium, leading to her being charged on 2 March.
Due to this new development, the five-time Grand Slam champion is provisionally suspended from 12 March pending further sanctions by the sport’s world governing body, ITTF.
Although she said she was ready to face the music, the former number one pleaded with fans and the ITTF alike to give a chance to redeem herself as she’s not ready to quit the game on this shameful note.
Sharapova was quoted as saying: “I made a huge mistake, I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four that I love so deeply.”
“I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope to be given another chance to play this game.”