Maria Sharapova held a press conference this evening to deliver a "major announcement" and reveal that she failed a regulation drug test at the Australian Open earlier this year after testing positive for Meldoniun, a substance that was banned on 1 January 2016 that she admits to taking unaware it had been outlawed.
- Maria Sharapova reveals she has failed a drug test
- Sharapova accepts "full responsibility" for taking banned substance meldonium
- Russian has taken drug since 2006 but it was only banned on 1 January 2016
- Sharapova didn't check updated Wada banned substances list
- Positive test came on same day as her Australian Open quarter-final loss to Serena Williams
- Sharapova facing up to a two-year ban
- What is meldonium and what does it do?
Follow the latest news from the press conference below...
I pray to God maria sharapova doesn't say she's retiring. I'd rather she tell us she's pregnant than say she's retiring ????????????
There is a rumour that Maria Sharapova is going to retire...Plz Maria dont' do that ; otherwise it will be a very sad day for your fans :'(
so.... is maria sharapova retiring or not
The countdown is nearly over, and the the clock on Sharapova's official website is into its final three minutes. Let's hope she's on time...some of us have dinner to make!
8 o'clock strikes, the video begins, but where's Maria?
Where is she? Two minutes quickly tick by with all eyes on the empty podium. There's not sponsorship or branding, which suggests it won't be a business announcement...
The microphone works - a woman just took to the podium to run a mic check and it definitely wasn't Maria Sharapova. Tick tock...
Here she is!
Maria Sharapova has failed a drug test at the Australian Open!
Anyone know the name of the medication?Mae Wilbornat 8:14 PM
What drug is she referring to?kpalley1946at 8:17 PM
The banned substance that Maria Sharapova has tested positive for is called Meldonium, a a blood flow drug that was added to World anti-doping list at the start of this year. It is used medically to improve blood flow, improves exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure and can also give an advantage to healthy athletes.
Here's what Sharapova had to say in her prepared statement before taking questions:
"I received a letter from the ITF that I failed a drugs test at the Australian Open," said Sharapova. "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."
While the expectation was that Sharapova would retire, she is hoping to do the opposite. In what was a stunning and shock revelation, Sharapova admitted that she hopes to be able to continue her career after any ban that she receives, and she even managed to joke at the end of her statement that she knew everyone thought she was going to retire.Maria Sharapova's "major announcement" was that she has failed a drug test
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