Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova held a press conference Monday to announce that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. The prohibited drug, meldomium, is listed as a prohibited substance by the International Tennis Federation, she said at the press conference. According to drugs.com, the medication is used to treat cardiac disorders and as an inhibitor of carnitine synthesis.
The 28-year old tennis star thanked the press for attending the press conference on such short notice. She began by telling the press she received a letter a few days ago from the ITF informing her she had failed a drug test at the Open.
“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it.” she said. “For the past 10 years, I have been given a medication called mildronate by my doctor – by my family doctor. This medication was not on the ‘what is banned’ list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years.”
She went on to say that the medication was added to the list on Jan. 1 of this year and she was unaware of the change.
Sharapova acknowledged that she does not want to end her career in such a way and is hoping she will be given another chance to play. She has been suspended from play pending further action regarding her case.
The ITF released the following statement regarding Sharapova’s announcement:
Following the statement made by Maria Sharapova in a press conference today, the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) can confirm the following:
– On 26 January 2016, Ms Sharapova provided an anti-doping sample to the TADP in association with her participation in the 2016 Australian Open.
– That sample was analysed by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, which returned a positive for meldonium, which is a prohibited substance under the WADA Code and, therefore also the TADP.
– In accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the TADP, Ms Sharapova was charged on 2 March with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
– Ms Sharapova has accepted the finding of meldonium in her sample collected on 26 January.
– As meldonium is a non-specified substance under the WADA (and, therefore, TADP) list of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods, Ms Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from 12 March, pending determination of the case.