On Monday afternoon, tennis star Maria Sharapova announced she failed a drug test at January’s Australian Open.
Sharapova, 28, says the substance that triggered the failed test was meldonium, a drug she has been taking since 2006, initially because of multiple health issues, including low magnesium, constant sickness and a family history of diabetes.
The substance had been legal until the beginning of 2016, thus she had been able to take the substance for a decade without issue, and she said a failure to check the updated list of WADA’s banned substances led to an oversight. How this translates to a suspension for Sharapova is uncertain at this time.
Despite the somber occasion, Sharapova used her trademark wit to allay concerns that the press conference was to announce her retirement from the sport, saying if that were the case, she wouldn’t have done so at a downtown L.A. hotel with a “fairly ugly carpet.” Sharapova has missed a host of significant events in the last year due to leg and forearm injuries, including last fall’s U.S. Open and the upcoming tournament in Indian Wells, causing her to drop out of the top five in the WTA rankings.
Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1, is one of seven women in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam, which she achieved with her triumph at the 2012 French Open. Along with Serena and Venus Williams, she is one of three active women with three Grand Slam singles titles.
She won at least one WTA title every year from 2003-2015, a streak that is now is jeopardy due to the combination of injuries and possible suspension.