MARIA Sharapova faces a career-ending ban after testing positive to a banned substance at January’s Australian Open.
The five-time major winner has taken “full responsibility” after failing the test, having taking endurance-boosting Mildronate to counter magnesium deficiency, getting sick very often and a family history of diabetes.
The Russian - also the world’s highest-paid female athlete - has been using the drug since 2006.
The substance was added to the banned list effective from January 1 this year - 18 days before the Australian Open, with the star admitting she had received correspondence from WADA detailing the changes to the list on December 22, which she “didn’t read”.
The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme said Sharapova provided the sample on January 26, which returned a positive for meldonium.
She was charged in accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the TADP on March 2 with an anti-doping rule violation and has accepted the finding and will be provisionally suspended from March 12.
“I have no one to blame but myself. (You have a team around you) but at the end of the day, everything that you do is about you,” Sharapova said.
“I have been very open and honest about many things, I take great responsibility in my job ... I made a huge mistake.
“I received an email from WADA ... with a link where you could see the prohibited items for 2016. And I did not look at that list.
“I do not (know the consequences). This is very new to me. I just received a letter a few days ago and I will be working with the ITF.”
The $400,000 that she won at the Australian Open will be immediately forfeited, with a two-year and potentially career-ending ban a realistic possibility.