22:13 GMT +326 February 2017
    Tennis star Maria Sharapova speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday, March 7, 2016.

    Russian Tennis Star Maria Sharapova Announces She Failed Drug Test

    © AP Photo/ Damian Dovarganes
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    During a surprise news conference, Russian athlete Maria Sharapova has announced that she has failed a drug test.

    "Throughout my long career I have been very open and honest about many things," Sharapova said. "I take great responsibility and professionalism in my job every single day, I made a huge mistake. I made a huge mistake, I let my fans down, I let the sport down that I've been playing since the age 4."

    Sharapova said she has been taking the drug, meldonium, for ten years. While the drug was previously approved by the International Tennis Federation, a recent rule change has put Sharapova in violation of drug regulations. The meldonium ban took effect on January 1.

    "I know that with this, I face consequences, and I don't want to end my career this way. I really hope I will be given another chance," she said. "I can't blame anyone for it but myself. At the end of the day, everything you do is about you."

    The tennis star took meldonium to treat a number of health issues, including magnesium deficiency, irregular EKG results, and to address her family history of diabetes. Meldonium was one of several prescriptions Sharapova was taking to address these issues.

    The announcement comes days after Sharapova announced that she would not be participating in BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, due to a left forearm injury.

    The 28-year-old is ranked as the 6th best tennis player in the world by the Women's Tennis Association, and ranked number 1 in singles on five separate occasions. Born in Siberia, she has played professionally since 2001, when she was only 14-years-old.

    Sharapova is the only Russian to hold the career Grand Slam, and earned Russia a silver medal for women's singles during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

    Maria Sharapova, United States, Russia
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    • avatar
      This is a surprised story, Sharapova Russian citizen leaving in America, i am not convinced all tennis players take drugs, and all sportsman in this world take drugs.
      Why Sharapova as a Russian citizen has decided to talk now.
      Not clear story.
    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Well i like her hope it was a dumb mistake (even if i ant more details).
    • avatar
      Why do they do it? Well, not because to hurt Russian pride...or may be it was...?
    • avatar
      I think the real news would be when an athlete makes an announcement that they PASSED a drug test.
    • Mystic-One
      The drug she was taking was banned January 1st 2016. The drug she was taking was a vasciodialator. This means it increases blood flow through veins, cappillaries, arteries and arterioles.

      It allows faster recovery and more exercise before one gets tired. Let me guess, the USA banned this drug because the FDA has not approved it yet. Zio-USA power again sticking it's fingers and nose where it does not belong.

      One of the main uses of this drug is to treat angina and high blood pressure.
    • Kim Kyu-Un
      Why does she always look so depressed?
    • avatar
      Wait what? prescribed meds gets you BANNED? In which world? because she is Russian?

      And when she took it last? Your body flushes things out. do traces are in other body arts?
      She should consult a lawyer and a specialist, IF it was prescribed, and specially IF she took it before the BAN.
      Sounds like all west, that NOT knowing a law was passed, is no excuse to break the new law.
    • avatar
      jasin reply toKim Kyu-Un(Show commentHide comment)
      Kim Kyu-Un, She's not depressed. Real people don't wear fake smiles all of the time.
    • avatar
      PaleRiderin reply tomalandrofeles(Show commentHide comment)
      malandrofeles, personally I am devastated, she has it all, she does not need this. Hope she does the right thing to recover her stardom.
    • avatar
      We love you anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • avatar
      We love you anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Marc Nonnenkamp
      So what? It is a prescription drug, she's the highest paid athlete on earth, etc. There is no news story here.
    • choticastile
      Witch hunt -- plain and simple.
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