If what Maria is saying -- that she's been using a drug for 10 years that just became banned at the beginnng of this year -- I'd hope they would go easy on her. (So much for performance-enhancing drugs -- she still couldn't get a point off Serena!) It was bad enough we lost Martina Hingis in such a hasty manner, although I think that says more about the Swiss Miss's personality than anything else. However, often when people are caught doing something wrong, they admit a little to try to distract from the full story. I don't think that's the case here, but we shall see.
Via The Daily News:
Maria Sharapova announced Monday that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
The five-time Grand Slam winner said she tested positive for Meldonium, which she said was added to the banned list on Jan. 1. Sharapova admitted that she didn't check the list that was sent to her to see what the prohibited items would be for 2016.
"I take great responsibility and professionalism in my career every day. I made a huge mistake," Sharapova said. "I let my fans down. I let my sport down."
The tennis star, who some speculated would be announcing her retirement, doesn't know yet what the consequences of the positive test will be.
"This is very new to me," Sharapova told reporters. "I just received the letter a few days ago, and I will be working with the ITF."
Sharapova said she was first given the substance in 2006 for "several health issues," including being low in magnesium, an irregular EKG and a family history of diabetes. She said Meldonium was one of several medications that she received at the time.
"I know with this that I face consequences," Sharapova said. "I don't want to end my career this way, and I really hope I'm given another chance to play this game."Shortly after her presser, the International Tennis Federation confirmed she will be provisionally suspended from the sport from March 12. Damian said that perhaps this will put an end to the conspiracy theory that the ITF sweeps offenses by big stars under the rug. Steve Simon, the chairman and chief executive of the WTA, said in a statement that he was “very saddened” by news of Sharapova’s failed test. “Maria is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity,” Simon said. “Nevertheless, as Maria acknowledged, it is every player’s responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible.”
UPDATE: After reading up on the drug in question, I've had a slight change of attitude. I still say Sharapova only broke the rules for a couple months, so doesn't deserve the harshest punishment. But given what doctors say about it -- that there's NO LEGITIMATE REASON a healthy young person should be on it -- Sharapova was clearly gaming the system. That she "got away with it" for 10 years but then was too stupid to stop when it was time to is really shocking. But even more shocking is that this proves that despite living in Florida since age 7, she's still a Russian through and through.