Maria Sharapova Failed Drug Test at Australian Open 2016 : What Next for Her

For over 24 hours, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova had the sporting world in a hypothetical passion. Maria Sharapova had called for a press conference for a “major announcement” on Monday, 7 March 2016 in downtown Los Angeles at 8 PM GMT.

There were many rumors for Maria Sharapova from retirement to pregnancy to a new product launch. The retirement guesses seemed like the safest bet as Sharapova has been troubled by injury and had pulled out of Indian Wells just days before. In the last eight months, she had only played four tournaments.

But when Sharapova stepped out on a muted, determined stage with a prepared speech in hand, she dropped a bombshell very few saw coming. The 28-year-old stated that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January this year. Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium, which she said she has been taking for 10 years for various health issues.

Sharapova at Press Conference
Sharapova at Press Conference

“For the past 10 years, I have been given a medicine called Mildronate by my family doctor and 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 been legally taking the medicine. But on 1 January [2016], the rules have changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance. I was first given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues I was having back in 2006. I was getting sick a lot. I was getting the flu every couple of months. I had irregular EKG results.”, Maria Sharapova Said.

After her blasting announcement, Nike has stopped their agreement with the Tennis Superstar as she may face lifetime ban from the game.

Sharapova will be provisionally suspended from 12 March 2016, with her actual penalty yet to be decided.

The five-time grand slam champion could end up facing a punishment that ranges a minimum sanction with no suspension to a 4 years ban.3

Four times Grand Slam Winner Athlete, Maria Sharapova claims she was unaware that the drug had been banned, it must be said that this is a serious oversight by her team. The highest-paid female athlete in the world for 11 years, Sharapova has an extensive support staff of coaches, doctors, physiotherapists along with her agent.

Even if Sharapova faces a reduced suspension, she could miss the next two grand slams and the all-important Olympics in 2016.  With 35 titles and 21 weeks at the number 1 ranking, Maria is also one of the most successful. It would be unfortunate if this doping admission brings an end to her career.

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