Maria Sharapova has long been one of the premier women’s tennis players of this era. She has won five Grand Slam Titles and is considered one of the few players who can match the power of stalwart Serena Williams.
Sharapova has also been the highest paid female athlete for the last 11 years and is one of the true stars currently on the WTA Tour.
Sharapova scheduled a press conference for what she deemed a ‘major announcement’ and she ultimately revealed that she had failed a doping test at the Australian Open via Christopher Clarey of the New York Times:
Maria Sharapova said Monday that she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January.
Sharapova explained that the drug she tested positive for was one that she had been taking for a long time, but was only recently added to the prohibited list:
She said she had been taking Mildronate since 2006. Mildronate is also known as Meldonium, which was added to the prohibited list this year. Sharapova said she received an email from the World Antidoping Agency in December that noted changes to tennis’s program for 2016. She said that the email including a link to a list of banned substances, but that she did not look at it.
This is undoubtedly a black mark on the career of Sharapova and for women’s tennis. Sharapova is extremely popular and her not being around will surely hurt their business and any failed test will likely call into question her number of championships.
Sharapova is currently the seventh ranked player in the WTA rankings. As of this time there is no word about how longs she would be suspended for.