Former No.1 and five time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova held a press conference on Monday where she dropped a bombshell stating that she failed a drug test at the Australia Open in January this year. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) analyzed the sample and found the presence of meldonium, a recently banned drug. Maria Sharapova , the world’s richest sportswoman now risks a ban of upto four years. As soon as Maria broke the news at her press conference, US sportswear Nike said in a statement “We are saddened and surprised by the news of Maria Sharapova. We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues”. Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuerand German luxury car maker Porsche also halted their relationship with Maria who owns a multi-million dollar business empire.
Maria in her press conference said “For the past ten years, I have been given a medicine called Mildronate by my family doctor and it also has another name Meldonium, which I did not know. It is very important for you to understand that for the 10 years this medicine was no on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking this medicine. But on January 1, (2016) the rules have changed for Meldonium, which I did not know. 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 flu every couple of months. I had regular EKG results. 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 have received.”
Maria added “I know that with this, I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”
Meldonium is an anti-ischemic drug, that treats angina, heart attacks and heart failure. According to a study last year in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis “the drug demonstrates an increase in endurance performance of athletes, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress and enhances activation of central nervous system functions”.
Maria said “I have to take full responsibility for it”. She added “At the end of the day everything you do is about you”.
Watch what she has to say :