Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova called for a short-notice press conference on Monday, but instead of announcing her retirement as the media, her fans and the rest of the world were expecting, she dropped an equally shocking news that she failed the drug test during the Australian Open.
During the press conference, Sharapova told reporters that she received a letter from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) informing her that she failed the drug test. The tennis superstar, however, said that she is taking full responsibility of the incident.
The drug that was detected on the sample that she submitted was Meldonium, which is used therapeutically as an anti-ischemic drug to treat patients with angina and myocardial infarction, said USA Today. ?The athlete shared that she has been taking the drug Mildronate for the past decade as prescribed by their family doctor for her magnesium deficiency. She added that a diabetes history also runs in the family.
Sharapova, however, claimed that she was unaware that the particular drug is also called Meldonium.
In a related report from PEOPLE, the drug is said to be capable of helping an athlete?s endurance and rehabilitation. However, it was not previously banned in the tennis world and was just added to the banned list this year.
Sharapova confirmed, ?I received an email on 22 December from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items, and I didn?t click on the link.?
Having mentioned that she did not take a look at the changes made by the agency, Sharapova admitted that she has ?made a huge mistake.?
?I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four, that I love so deeply. I know that with this, I face consequences and I don?t want to end my career this way. I really hope to be given another chance to play this game,? the 28-year-old tennis player added.
Watch here the full press conference of Maria Sharapova in Los Angeles.
As of the moment, ?Ms. Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from 12 March, pending determination of the case,? said the ITF. The Russian athlete is charged with violation of Anti-Doping Rule by the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP).
Although she has been suspended, Sharapova said she is not retiring, unlike what many of the fans thought. ?I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today but if I was ever going to announce my retirement, it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet,? she shared.