Maria Sharapova announces failed drug test at Australian Open
Maria Sharapova announced she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in a press conference Monday in Los Angeles.
Sharapova was informed by the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for Meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances on Jan. 1, 2016. Sharapova said she has legally been taking the drug for 10 years.
Sharapova did not disclose what penalty she will face for the positive test.
“I know that with this, I face consequences,” Sharapova said. “I don't want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”
The test was conducted on Jan. 26 before being examined by a WADA accredited laboratory, which returned the positive for Meldonium. The ITF announced Sharapova will be provisionally suspended beginning on March 12.
The drug was added to WADA's banned list as it showed “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.” Melodonium is a drug used clinically to treat angina, myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon issued the following statement:
“I am very saddened to hear this news about Maria. Maria is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity. Nevertheless, as Maria acknowledged, it is very player's responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible. This matter is now in the hands of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and its standard procedures. The WTA will support the decisions reached through this process.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency said it will refrain from commenting on the case until a decision has been issued by the ITF.
Her parents were also in attendance at the press conference.
Sharapova has struggled with her shares of injuries in the past year as she withdrew from last year's U.S. Open with a right leg injury. Most recently, she he dropped out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells due to a left forearm injury.
At 18, Sharapova topped the world with the No. 1 ranking by the Women's Tennis Association on August 22, 2005. Sharapova will turn 29 next month and is ranked No. 6 by the WTA
Sharapova has won five Grand Slam titles in her career, which is the third most among active players behind Serena and Venus Williams.
- Christopher Chavez