Tennis star, Maria Sharapova has been provisionally suspended after failing a drug test conducted during the Australian Open in January.
Sharapova is the richest female tennis star tested positive for Meldonium, a drug she’s been on since 2006.
Meldonium is usually used to help athletes increase their exercise rate as it boosts blood flow and the drug was only added to the World Anti Doping Agency banned list in January 2016.
Sharapova immediately called a press conference and said, “For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name of meldonium which I did not know. It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on Wada’s banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known. I failed the test and I take full responsibility for it. I made a huge mistake.”
Sports brand, Nike, immediately suspended its relationship with the athlete who now faces a possible ban of 2-4 years for taking a banned substance.