Thursday March 10th, 2016

Maria Sharapova thanked her fans for their support in the days after she announced her positive test for a banned substance on Monday, she posted on Facebook.

She 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.

Several sponsors including Nike and Tag Heuer have suspended their relationships with Sharapova in the aftermath of the positive test.

Sharapova has struggled with her share 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.

Sharapova's negligence, drug admission raises many questions

Sharapova wrote the following on Facebook:

”I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion.

The first email I immediately opened was from my best friend, you know, the type of person who can make you smile and cry with only one word and who I spent the evening on the phone with, checking up on me, how was I doing?

On average, I love the mornings. New day, new start. It is fair to say that this day was not average. Nothing came to mind at 6am, except that I am determined to play tennis again and I hope I will have the chance to do so. I wish I didn’t have to go through this, but I do – and I will.

What is Meldonium? The drug behind Maria Sharapova’s positive test

I needed to sweat, to push through and grind as I have done most of my life, so I made my way to the gym. That’s when I realized a bunch of tinted windowed cars were following me. The good old paparazzi, back on the trail.

I have not been online much except the odd search for a new antique coffee table (random, I know), but my friends made a collage for me with all your beautiful messages and hashtags that you created (#‎IStandWithMaria‬and ‪#‎LetMariaPlay‬). I spent the afternoon reading them next to my dog, who couldn’t quite understand why this was more important than the walk he was expecting to take.

In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans. Within hours of my announcement, you showed me support and loyalty, which I could only expect to hear when someone would be at the top of their profession.

I wanted to let you know that your wonderful words put a smile on my face. I’d like to play again and hope to have the chance to do so. Your messages give me great encouragement. This message isn’t anything else but to say thank you. Thank you very much.”

Sharapova will be provisionally suspended before an official timeline is set for her return.

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