Tennis star Maria Sharapova failed a drug test at this year's Australian Open and expects to be suspended, she said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday. The 28-year-old Russian said she has been taking a substance called meldonium since 2006 and was not aware that the World Anti-Doping Agency had added it to a list of prohibited substances this year. The International Tennis Federation supervises anti-doping tests in men's and women's tennis using the WADA list.
Sharapova says she’s been taking substance since 2006 for magnesium deficiency and irregular ekg results. Drug put on banned list for 2016.— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) March 7, 2016
Per the Guardian, meldonium was developed in Latvia and "has been used to treat ischemia, or lack of blood flow." Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova, a 2014 Olympic gold medalist, also announced Monday that she had tested positive for the substance.
A five-time major champion, Sharapova is the highest-profile tennis player to have ever failed a PED test. (The sport's testing standards, which have been criticized as lax in the past, have become stricter in recent years.) "I don't want to end my career this way, and I really hope I get another chance," she said Monday. Sharapova is currently ranked seventh in the world by the WTA; her last match was a loss to Serena Williams at the Australian Open in question.
Update, 4:05 p.m.: Tennis authorities have confirmed Sharapova's positive test and announced that she will be "provisionally suspended" as of this Saturday.