Maria Sharapova has stunned the tennis world! The former No. 1 player admitted on March 7 that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. Maria said she’s taken Meldonium for ten years, but argued that it was perfectly legal until three months ago! Click to watch her emotional confession.
What lies in store for Maria Sharapova? The 28-year-old athlete has competed at the top level of tennis for years, facing off against Serena Williams, 34, at numerous tournaments. But will she be allowed to play again after confessing to using a banned substance?
“I wanted to let you know that a few days ago, I received a letter from the [International Tennis Federation] that I failed a drug test at the Australian Open,” Maria said at the beginning of her March 7 press conference. “I did fail the drug test,” she confirmed, disappointment and embarrassment deep within her voice. “And I take full responsibility for it.”
Maria said that she had been taking Meldonium for over a decade, a medication her doctor has prescribed her. “It’s very important for you to understand that for ten years, this medicine was not on [World Anti-Doping Agency]’s banned list and I was legally taking the medicine.” Maria said she was given the medication in 2006 to treat numerous health issues, including an irregular EKG. It also helped Maria combat diabetes, a disease that runs in her family, per CNN.
However, WADA’s rules changed on Jan. 1, 2016, according to Maria. She then said that her drug test failure was due to an oversight. “I received a letter on December 22 from the WADA, an email with the changes happening for next year,” Maria said. She said she didn’t see that Meldonium was now banned, or else she would have not taken it. Maria is the seventh athlete to test positive for the drug this year, according to The New York Times.
“I thought it was very important for me to come out and speak about all this in front of all of you,” Maria said. “I’ve been very open and honest about many things and I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job. I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down, I let the sport down.”
There were reports that Maria was going to make a major announcement on March 7, and with Peyton Manning, 39, retiring, some thought Maria might follow his lead. However, though Maria has owned up to her mistake, she said, “I don’t want to end my career this way. And I hope that I will have a chance to play again.”
Do you think Maria should be banned from tennis, HollywoodLifers? Or do you think that this isn’t that big of an offense?