Sharapova hoping for 'another chance' after failed drugs test


Maria Sharapova is ready to take the consequences for a failed drugs test but hopes to be given "another chance" to continue her glittering career.

The five-time grand-slam champion on Tuesday announced that she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation of a failed test during the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova revealed that she had been legally taking Meldonium for a decade due to health reasons and had not realised that the substance was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances as of the start of this year.

A statement from the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme confirmed that the 28-year-old world number seven will be provisionally suspended from March 12 "pending determination of the case".

Sharapova said she only had her herself to blame for failing to click on a link listing the banned substances for 2016 in an email sent by WADA.

Speculation had mounted that the former world number one would start the week by announcing her retirement, but the Russian instead faces an anxious wait to discover her punishment.

"I take great responsibility for professionalism every day in my job and I made a huge mistake," a sombre Sharapova said in Los Angeles.

"I've let my fans down, I've let the sport down that I've been playing since the age of sport and I love so deeply. 

"I know with this I face consequences and I don't want to end my career this way and I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game.

"I have to take full responsibility as it's my body and I take full responsibility what I put into my body. I can't blame anybody but myself no matter who I'm working with.

"I think it's very important to have a great team around you with coaches and doctors, but at the end of the day but at the end of the day everything you do is about you."

She added: "I know many of you thought I was retiring but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet."

When asked why she had taken Meldonium, Sharapova stated: "I was first given the substance back in 2006. I had several health issues going on at the time.

"I was getting sick very often and I had a deficiency in magnesium and a family history of diabetes, and there were signs of diabetes. That is one of the medications, along with others, that I received."