Maria Sharapova Failed Doping Test At Australian Open

Maria Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid female athlete and a five-time Grand Slam champion, has announced on Monday that she tested positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova

The positive test for the recently banned drug was confirmed by the tennis anti-doping program. The Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP) confirmed Sharapova was charged on 2 March with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation in accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the TADP after her sample returned a positive for Meldonium that  is a prohibited substance under the WADA Code and therefore also the TADP.  The test happened on January 26, the day Sharapova lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The Russian professional tennis player has not played since because of a forearm injury and will be suspended provisionally pending a ruling in the case.

Immediately after Sharapova's announcement, Nike announced it was suspending its relationship with Maria Sharapova “while the investigation continues.” The tennis star has her own clothing line with Nike. She signed an eight-year extension with Nike in 2010 that could reportedly be worth up to $70 million.

Originally developed in Latvia, Meldonium is a drug for heart patients. It is prescribed for heart patients and useful to aid blood flow. Meldonium is not approved for sale in the United States.

Meldonium was placed this year on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list after being on its Monitoring List in 2015.

Sharapova said she was unaware of the change before she received notification of her positive test but added she takes full responsibility for it. The former world number one said her family doctor IN 2006 began prescribing the drug Mildronate, also known as Meldonium, after she started to experience several health issues, including frequent cases of the flu. A United States resident since 1994, Sharapova added she was getting sick very often and had a deficiency in magnesium. The tennis star added she had irregular EKG results and had a family history of diabetes and there were signs of diabetes.

In an interview, John Haggerty, Sharapova’s lawyer, said after the news conference that the medication brought these conditions that she had under control. Haggerty remarked Meldonium can serve as a performance-enhancer in higher dosages but Sharapova was taking a prescribed dose for health purposes. Sharapova’s lawyer added he would probably request a minimal penalty from the International Tennis Federation.

Steve Simon, the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, remarked Maria deserves a great deal of he thinks compliments because she showed a lot of grace and class and integrity today, which you expect from her by stepping up and acknowledging her mistake. Simon added but he thinks it does show that the sport does have tremendous levels of integrity, and that there isn’t any athlete that is above the rules.

In recent times, many athletes from several sports have reportedly tested positive for the substance.

Abeba Aregawi, a Swedish runner who won the women’s 1,500 meters at the 2013 world championships, failed a test for the substance and Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova announced on Monday that she had tested positive for Meldonium at the 2016 European Figure Skating Championships.

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