Maria Sharapova held a press conference earlier today to announce that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) contacted the star athlete to let her know she had tested positive for a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Federation (WADA). Sharapova admitted she had been using Meldonium for a decade to combat various health problems but was unaware that the WADA now considered it a performance enhancing drug.
Meldonium was added to the “banned substances” list in 2015 after random WADA testing found that it was present in over 180 samples they collected. The drug has a number of uses, ranging from treating angina and ischemic strokes to helping those suffering from seizures and various neurological disorders. It also has some performance enhancing qualities. Meldonium also improves heart function and possesses a mild stimulant quality. According to the Baltic Sports Science Conference, it “increases physical work capabilities of athletes… (and) does not provoke any undesired side effects”.
Sharapova told the press:
“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down. I let my sport down… I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”
You can see the full video of Sharapova’s press conference here [starting at the 43 minute mark]: