Tennis golden girl Maria Sharapova is banned from playing after she failed a drugs test during this year's Australian Open. The 5-times Grand Slam champion who revealed this in a personal statement at a Los Angeles hotel last night said she had been found to have taken Mildronate which was prohibited from January 1 this year.
'I had legally been taking this for ten years,' said Sharapova, who conceded that she had received a notification from the International Tennis Federation on December 22 that it was being outlawed. She admitted that she did not follow an information link that was provided.
'I take responsibility for my professionalism in my job and I made a big mistake. I know there will be consequences and I don't want to end my career this way. I really hope I will be given another chance to play tennis again. I can't blame anyone but myself. I have let my fans down.
'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 Lost Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.'
'It made me healthy and that is why I continued to take it,' Sharapova said of the banned substance after taking a small number of questions from the floor.
'I am still working through my injury and that is the reason I withdrew from Palm Springs, because I have still not healed my injury.
Maria Sharapova, 28, is highest earning athlete in any female sport. The 28 year-old faces a ban of several years.,