Maria Sharapova at press conference. Image via ABC/Robyn Beck

Maria Sharapova Failed Drug Test

The tennis player admitted on Tuesday that she tested positive to meldonium at the Australian Open in late January.

She had been taking the drug since 2006.

Jon Haggerty, Sharapova’s lawyer, said, “She took it on a regular basis as recommended by her doctor. He told her what to take and when to take it, then continued to test her and confirm that it was giving her the desired improved medical condition.”*

Sharapova’s test was taken on the same day that she was defeated in the quarterfinal by current world number 1 Serena Williams.

The drug has only been banned as of January 1, 2016.

Sharapova is now pleading for a second chance.

“I have made a huge mistake,” said the 28-year-old.

I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four that I love so deeply.

“I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I get another chance to play this game.”

President of the Women’s Tennis Association Steve Simon said, “the incident is now in the hands of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and its standard procedures.”

She is suspended as of the 12th March, until the investigation is completed.

Three of Sharapova’s major sponsors, Nike, TAG Heuer and Porsche, have withdrawn their sponsorship of the tennis star.

Nike said, “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria until the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation”.

UPDATE 9/3/16: A quote was added to this article after it was initially published