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Maria Sharapova fails drug test: Her statement in full after admitting testing positive for meldonium

Sharapova has taken meldonium since the age of 16 to treat her ill health, but it was outlawed at the start of this year

Jack de Menezes
Monday 07 March 2016 21:53 GMT
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Maria Sharapova reveals she failed a drug test at the Australian Open during a press conference on Monday
Maria Sharapova reveals she failed a drug test at the Australian Open during a press conference on Monday (Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova has revealed that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open this year after testing positive for meldonium, a drug that she has taken since she was 16 but was added to the World anti-doping agency's banned substance list on 1 January 2016. Here is her statement in full:

"I received a letter from the ITF that I failed a drugs test at the Australian Open. I take full responsibility for it.

"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 ITF letter I found out that it also has another name of meldonium which I did not know.

"It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on Wada's banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years.

"But on January 1st the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known."

"I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues that I was having in 2006," Sharapova continued.

"Throughout my long career I have been very open and honest about many things and I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job every single day and I made a huge mistake.

"I let my fans down. I let the sport down I have been playing since the age of four and I love so deeply.

"I know with this I face consequences and I don't want to end my career this way and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.

"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."

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