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Maria Sharapova: I failed drug test at Australian Open

I've made a huge mistake, says former world number one

Published 07/03/2016

Maria Sharapova says she accepts that she has failed a drugs test
Maria Sharapova says she accepts that she has failed a drugs test
Maria Sharapova in action against Johanna Konta during the First round women's singles during day one of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 29, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Maria Sharapova
Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts after winning her women's singles first round match against Britain's Johanna Kontaduring on day one of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2015. Sharapova won 6-2, 6-2. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRKGLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
Maria Sharapova ruled out a future coaching career
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand in her Ladiess Singles first round match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day one of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova serves in her Ladies Singles first round match against Johanna Konta (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova of Russia serves in her Ladies Singles first round match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day one of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova returns to Britain's Johanna Konta during their women's singles first round match on day one of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2015. Sharapova won 6-2, 6-2. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRKGLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is picked up by racing driver Mark Webber and driven to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) pre-Wimbledon party
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova has announced that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.

The Russian, 28, tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.

The former world number one revealed that she has been taking medicine given to her by her doctor for the past 10 years that was not on the banned substances list.

However, on 1 January it was added, with Sharapova claiming she was unaware of the developments. The Russian confirmed that she accepts that she has failed a drugs test.

"I know that with this I face consequences and I don't want to end my career this way and I hope that will have a chance to play again," she told reporters at a press conference in Los Angeles.

"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 received an email on 22 December from Wada [World Anti-Doping Agency] about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items, and I didn't click on that link."

The International Tennis Federation announced Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from March 12.

The five-time Grand Slam champion added: "I made a huge mistake.

"I know I face consequences and I didn't want to end my career this way. I hope I will be given the chance to play this game again."

Ahead of the press conference Sharapova said there would be a “major announcement”. Many observers expected her to announce her retirement from the game.

She said: "I know many of you thought I was retiring but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet."

Sharapova is ranked seventh in the world but has played just four tournaments since Wimbledon last July.  A string of injuries left the player struggling for form.

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