Maria Sharapova: I Failed a Drug Test
But tennis champion says it's an honest mistake
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2016 3:30 PM CST
Tennis star Maria Sharapova speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, March 7, 2016. Sharapova says she has failed a drug test at the Australian Open.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – Tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted today that she's been caught using a drug restricted by professional tennis, the BBC reports. "I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it," the 28-year-old said in Los Angeles after failing a drug test at the Australian Open. But the five-time Grand Slam winner insists she had been using the drug, called mildronate, for 10 years on the advice of her family doctor. The drug was banned by tennis on January 1, she says. "I received an email on 22 December from Wada [World Anti-Doping Agency] about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items, and I didn't click on that link," says Sharapova.

She regretted her mistake but says the drug didn't enhance her performance, the Guardian reports. "I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four that I love so deeply," she says. After the presser, her lawyer told USA Today that Sharapova could be banned for four years, but he hopes "mitigating circumstances can lead to the elimination of a ban altogether." Sharapova has earned nearly $37 million in her career but has battled multiple injuries in recent years, Yahoo Sports notes. As for mildronate, it's an anti-ischemic medication designed to help people with myocardial infarction and angina. Yet this study considers it a performance-enhancing drug. (A recent report found that gamblers fix major tennis matches.)