Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova said on 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.
A five-time Grand Slam champion, Ms. Sharapova (28), is one of tennis’ biggest stars and has been the highest-paid female athlete for 11 straight years.
She said she had been taking Mildronate since 2006 for health issues. Mildronate is also known as Meldonium, which was added to the prohibited list this year.
Ms. Sharapova said she received an email from the World Anti-Doping Agency in December that noted changes to the tennis programme for 2016. “I have to take full responsibility for it,” she told a news conference. “It’s my body, and I’m responsible for what I put into it.”
Ms. Sharapova will be provisionally suspended starting March 12, the International Tennis Federation said. Three of her sponsors — sportswear giant Nike, Swiss watch brand Tag Heuer and German luxury car company Porsche — announced they were cutting ties with her. — New York Times News Service