On This Day in 2016 – Maria Sharapova shocks tennis world with failed drugs test

The former world number one tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open eight years ago.

Pa Sport Staff
Thursday 07 March 2024 06:00 GMT
Maria Sharapova failed a drugs test eight years ago (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Maria Sharapova failed a drugs test eight years ago (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

Maria Sharapova revealed she had failed a drugs test on this day in 2016.

The former world number one and five-time grand slam champion shocked tennis by announcing she had tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open.

Sharapova explained she had been taking the substance since 2006 for an irregular heartbeat and a history of diabetes in her family and claimed not to have realised the medicine had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list at the beginning of 2016.

Then aged 28, Russian Sharapova was provisionally suspended from March 12, with Nike halting its sponsorship until the investigation was complete.

In a press conference at a hotel in Los Angeles, Sharapova said: “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.

“I failed the test and I take full responsibility for it. I let my fans down, I let the sport down that 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.”

Sharapova was initially banned for two years but this was reduced to 15 months on appeal.

The former Wimbledon champion returned to competitive tennis in April 2017 before retiring in February 2020.

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