Maria Sharapova failed drug test at the 2016 Australian Open

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Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drug test at this year’s  Australian Open. The five-time Grand Slam champion, 28, tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues. Sharapova said she was not yet aware of the sanctions she will face.

In a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday, said she had been taking the drug, meldonium, ever since 2006 and didn’t realize that it became a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency at the start of 2016.

“A few days ago I received a letter from the (International Tennis Federation) that I failed a drug test at the Australian Open,” the five-time grand slam winner said in the press conference that was streamed live on Sharapova’s website. “I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it.

“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my doctor, my family doctor, and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name, meldonium, which I did not know.

“It’s very important for you to understand for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on January 1 the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known.”

Sharapova would later say she began taking the medication because she had been getting sick often and was magnesium deficient. Her family also has a history of diabetes, she added.’I don’t want to end my career this way and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game,’ she said. ‘I failed the test and take full responsibility for that. I had been taking this medicine for the past 10 years, but on 1 January this became a prohibited substance which I did not know.’I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down. I let my sport down.’I don’t want to end my career this way. … I know many of you thought I was retiring. But if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in this downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.’ Source: BBC Sport

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