Five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova has announced she failed a drugs test at this year’s Australian Open.
The 28-year-old Russian made the shocking revelation at a pre-arranged press conference in Los Angeles, on Monday.
But the world was expecting to hear of her retirement from the sport – or a pregnancy which would rule her out of action for a short while.
Sharapova received a letter from the ITF informing her of the failed test for meldonium – a substance which has been on the banned list since January 16.
Sharapova, who took “full responsibility” for the failed test, said she has been taking the drug legally since the age of 16, but did not realise it had subsequently been banned.
“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on January 1 the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known.”
But is this the last we will see of Sharapova? Both she and her fans hope not.