Tennis star Maria Sharapova announced Monday afternoon that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
The ITF said in a statement that “Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from [March 12], pending determination of the case.”
Sharapova, 28, said she started taking the substance in 2006 for magnesium deficiency and irregular EKG results, while also citing a family history of diabetes.
Sharapova says she’s been taking substance since 2006 for magnesium deficiency and irregular ekg results. Drug put on banned list for 2016.— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) March 7, 2016
Maria Sharapova announces she failed a drug test at Australian Open; was taking meldonium. Doesn't know what suspension will be.— Steve Tignor (@SteveTignor) March 7, 2016
“It made me healthy, that’s why I continued to take it,” she said.
A former world No. 1, Sharapova has struggled with injuries recently. She withdrew from last season’s U.S. Open with a lingering right leg injury, and withdrew from several tournaments this year citing a left forearm injury.
Currently ranked No. 7 in the world, Sharapova has only played at one tournament this year – a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open where she lost to eventual finalist Serena Williams.
Sharapova offered an apology during her news conference.
“I made a huge mistake,” she said. “I let the sport down. I let my fans down.”
Sharapova: takes full responsibility. “I made a huge mistake. I let the sport down. I let my fans down.” Hopes to be able to come back.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) March 7, 2016
She fueled rumor talk on Sunday when her agent said a “major announcement” was on the way, but Sharapova is hoping that her career isn’t over yet.
“I know I face consequences and I didn’t want to end my career this way,” she said. “I hope I will be given the chance to play this game again.”
Nike suspended its business relationship with Sharapova after her admission Monday afternoon. The company announced its decision to “suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues” in a statement released Monday night.