Tennis star Maria Sharapova announced today that she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, which was initially developed in Latvia for heart patients to aid oxygen flow.
Speaking earlier today at a Los Angeles press conference, Sharapova stated she been taking meldonium since 2006 and that she did not realize it was on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned substances list. According to WADA, the failed test was on January 26- the day she lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. The charge of the violation was levied on March 2.
“A few days ago I received a letter from the (International Tennis Federation) that I failed a drug test at the Australian Open,” the five-time grand slam winner said in the press conference that was streamed live on Sharapova’s website. “I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it.
“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my doctor, my family doctor, and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name, meldonium, which I did not know.
“It’s very important for you to understand for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on January 1 the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known.”
CEO of the WTA, Steve Simon said he “saddened” by the news but it was down to Sharapova making sure she knew the rules.