Maria Sharapova: positive drugs test

keefy

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She has been taking the substance for 10 years, but it was only put on the banned list on 1st January this year.

[video]http://youtube.com/watch?v=glT9lAE_KEo[/video]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/35750285
Maria Sharapova reveals Australian Open failed drugs test
Former world number one Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open.

The Russian, 28, tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said the five-time Grand Slam champion would be provisionally suspended from 12 March.

Sportswear company Nike said it was halting its relationship with her until the investigation was complete.

"I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it," said Sharapova, who won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004.

Sharapova has been the highest-earning female athlete in the world in each of the past 11 years, according to the Forbes list.

With career earnings from tennis alone amounting to almost £26m, she claimed she had taken meldonium "for the past 10 years" after being given it by "my family doctor" but had known the drug as mildronate.

"A few days ago, after I received a letter from the ITF, I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know," she said.

Sharapova's lawyer, John Haggerty, told Sports Illustrated he was hopeful the player would avoid a lengthy ban.

"We think there is a laundry list of extremely mitigating circumstances that, once taken into consideration, would result in dramatically reducing any sanction that they might want to impose on Maria," he said.

Sharapova provided the anti-doping sample in question on 26 January, the day she lost to world number one Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) analysed the sample and returned a positive for meldonium.

Sharapova, who lives in Florida, was subsequently charged on 2 March.

"It is very important for you to understand that, for 10 years, this medicine was not on Wada's banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine for the past 10 years," she said.

"But, on 1 January, the rules changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known."

She added that Wada had sent her an email on 22 December informing her of changes to the banned list, but she had failed to "click" on the link that would have detailed the prohibited items.

Was this news a surprise?

Completely. There was speculation she had called Monday's news conference, which was streamed live online, to announce she was quitting tennis.

"I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today, but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet," she said.

Maria Sharapova shot to stardom in 2004 by winning Wimbledon as a teenager
According to BBC tennis commentator Andrew Castle, Sharapova's positive drugs test is "a hammer blow to the sport".

Three-time Grand Slam singles champion Jennifer Capriati said she was "extremely angry and disappointed".

The American, whose career was ended by injury, added: "If this medication helped me to come back again, would everyone be all right with me taking it?

"In my opinion, if it's all true every title should be stripped. This is other people's lives as well."

However, 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova felt Sharapova had simply committed an "honest mistake".

What is meldonium?

It is meant for angina patients but athletes like it because it helps their endurance and ability to recover from big efforts.

It is on the banned list now because Wada started seeing it in lots of samples and found it does have performance-enhancing properties.

It was on Wada's 'watchlist' for over a year and added to the banned list on 1 January.

Made in Latvia, it is widely available - without prescription and at low cost - in many east European countries, but it is not licensed in most western countries, including the United States.

It is thought that hundreds of athletes have been using it and there are a lot more cases in the pipeline.

Why did Sharapova take it?

Haggerty said she started to take meldonium after her doctor did "an extensive battery of tests to determine what medical conditions were causing her to be sick on a frequent basis".

She had "abnormal electrocardiogram readings" and "some diabetes indicators", which prompted the doctor to recommend medication, including meldonium.

He added: "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."

Wada placed meldonium on its monitoring programme in 2015 before adding it to the banned list this year "because of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance".

What happens now?

Sharapova could apply for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE).

A TUE allows a player to use a banned substance, without committing an anti-doping rule violation, if they have a medical condition that requires it.

As for her sponsors, it remains to be seen if others follow the lead of Nike, who said it was "saddened and surprised by the news".

She also has contracts with Evian, Tag Heuer, Porsche and Avon.

Whatever happens, Sharapova, who turns 29 in April, says she hopes to be able to return to tennis in the future.

"I made a huge mistake," she said. "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 know that with this I face consequences and I don't want to end my career this way. I really hope to be given another chance to play this game."

Sharapova first reached world number one in August 2005 and is currently seventh in the rankings.

But she has played just four tournaments since Wimbledon last July as she struggled with an arm injury.

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova won the last of her five Grand Slam singles titles at the French Open in 2014
How long could a ban be?

Up to four years, according to Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and Wada guidelines.

But Jeff Tarango, Sharapova's former coach and an ex-Tour professional, said he doubted she would be banned for that long.

"I think it immediately falls under two years, but, with these circumstances, probably one year," the American told BBC Radio 5 live.

"She can apply for a TUE. If it really is something she had to take for her heart and diabetes ,then it falls under a TUE."

Several high-profile Tour players have been suspended for anti-doping violations, among them Marin Cilic, Viktor Troicki and Barbora Strycova.

Former US Open champion Cilic was banned for taking a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy in France but had his suspension reduced from nine to four months in October 2013.

Troicki was suspended for 12 months on appeal after refusing to take a blood test at a tournament in Monte Carlo in 2013, claiming he was feeling unwell and had a phobia of needles.

Czech player Strycova was given a back-dated six-month ban in 2013 after saying a banned stimulant entered her system via a weight-loss supplement.

Former Grand Slam winners Martina Hingis and Andre Agassi are among those who have been banned for testing positive for recreational drugs.

What's the WTA's stance?

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) president Steve Simon said he was "very saddened" at Sharapova's failed test.

"Maria is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity," he added.

"As Maria acknowledged, it is every player's responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible.

"This matter is now in the hands of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and its standard procedures.

"The WTA will support the decisions reached through this process."

Tennis Australia added it was "surprised" by the news.

It added: "Throughout her career Maria has always impressed with her professionalism as a leader and role-model in our sport."
 
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Major

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On the one hand I can see some sort of honest mistake. On the other hand, she's an internationally recognised name with not only a wealth of wealth behind her but a wealth of professionals + experts who should have pointed this out in good time. She is a pro-player not some amateur.

One question: Why did her medical people/team not inform her of this and make amends to anything she may have been on?

That's not heroin, that's smack.
Right... sure.
 

keefy

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It does seem like a genuine mistake but ignorance of the rules is not a defence.
Perhaps not the maximumn4 year ban but certainly many months so may miss Roland Garros, Wimbledon and even US Open this year.
 
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33x

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haha, and still cant beat Serena. if Serena did this she would be getting vilified. this just smacks of white prilivge
 

Major

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[QUOTE="33x, post: 6505454]this just smacks of white prilivge[/QUOTE]
Really? Serena is pretty well respected as a tennis player. I don't think skin colour has much to do with it.
 

Lethal

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She knew damn well she was taking an illegal drug. This is her career and she knows what you can and can not take. She can act innocent, but she is not.
 

Chewbacca

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One of the side effects of what she took is "increased endurance" so it does give you a slight edge. Cheating is cheating but it seems like she genuinely didn't know.

She can still hit my balls with her racket anytime... ;)
 

keefy

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[QUOTE="33x, post: 6505454]haha, and still cant beat Serena. if Serena did this she would be getting vilified. this just smacks of white prilivge[/QUOTE]
More like female privilege. Men usually fair far worse in situations like this.
 

Fijiandoce

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Every athlete takes something. No matter how successful they are.

Just bad luck for Sharapova that no one informed her the drug she was using had been added to the banned list.
 

Major

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[QUOTE="Chewbacca, post: 6505468]She can still hit my balls with her racket anytime... ;)[/QUOTE]
That's very niche Chewbacca but I respect that :lol:
 

Duffman

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[QUOTE="33x, post: 6505454]haha, and still cant beat Serena. if Serena did this she would be getting vilified. this just smacks of white prilivge[/QUOTE]

I don't think that would be the case at all, if she had the same genuine mistake the color of her skin wouldn't matter!

[QUOTE="Lethal, post: 6505463]She knew damn well she was taking an illegal drug. This is her career and she knows what you can and can not take. She can act innocent, but she is not.[/QUOTE]

She didn't though, it only became illegal in January of this year so there is no way she would have known unless someone would have told her, plus she would have failed a drug test ages ago if that was the case!
 

Lethal

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[QUOTE="Duffman, post: 6505549]She didn't though, it only became illegal in January of this year so there is no way she would have known unless someone would have told her, plus she would have failed a drug test ages ago if that was the case![/QUOTE]


Then she knew as of January that it was illegal. Just like when I build decks and a new code is written in to the inspections. It is my job to know the rules, and I know when the codes change. Anyone who believes she had no idea what drugs are illegal in her job is a fool. She knew, and her team knew..

From the very start she was planning on playing the "I didn't know" card. She has been taking something she probably has not needed in many years as well. She has been taking this drug for damn near her entire career.
 
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BBK..

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[QUOTE="Lethal, post: 6505551]Then she knew as of January that it was illegal. Just like when I build decks and a new code is written in to the inspections. It is my job to know the rules, and I know when the codes change. Anyone who believes she had no idea what drugs are illegal in her job is a fool. She knew, and her team knew..[/QUOTE]

I'm with Lethal here. It's not some amateur this is one of the best women tennis players in the works. No doubt she has a massive team behind her who would've known or at the very least they should've known as otherwise what the hell are they getting paid for.

Her taking it throughout her career isn't the issue but her taking it after it was banned was the issue. I would be shocked if the sporting body didn't issue out a warning months/Weeks/Days prior


TapaTalking from my Mind.
 

keefy

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WADA do issue warnings about new substances being added to the banned lists, its only fair.
This substance was on their watch list for over a year so there must have been info and news about it sent to athletes all throughout last year and then final warnings in November or December.
 

Duffman

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[QUOTE="Lethal, post: 6505551]Then she knew as of January that it was illegal. Just like when I build decks and a new code is written in to the inspections. It is my job to know the rules, and I know when the codes change. Anyone who believes she had no idea what drugs are illegal in her job is a fool. She knew, and her team knew..

From the very start she was planning on playing the "I didn't know" card. She has been taking something she probably has not needed in many years as well. She has been taking this drug for damn near her entire career.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE="BBK.., post: 6505553]I'm with Lethal here. It's not some amateur this is one of the best women tennis players in the works. No doubt she has a massive team behind her who would've known or at the very least they should've known as otherwise what the hell are they getting paid for.

Her taking it throughout her career isn't the issue but her taking it after it was banned was the issue. I would be shocked if the sporting body didn't issue out a warning months/Weeks/Days prior


TapaTalking from my Mind.[/QUOTE]

You guys do know that the Australian Open is in January don't you?

If she's been taking it most of her life it will take a little while to dissapear out her system and could easilly be picked up on a drug test that would have been performed not long after the substance in the drug was banned......

Even a substance in harmless hayfever tablets is banned in the world of tennis!
 

BBK..

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That's no excuse though Duff. I highly doubt the tennis body sent out a text message a few days for they get on court saying

"btw, substance X is banned. Cya"

These things take time to pass and I find it hard to believe she is as innocent as she claims. It's not a black and white case like Mr Armstrong but either she has shit advisors who need to get sacked or she was risking it


TapaTalking from my Mind.
 
Dec 16, 2006
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#18
They were all sent a note about the added substances on Sept 30th - this gives them time to get any newly banned substance out of their system. She said she didn't click the link.

She's an idiot. When you're a $30M business you click the fucking link!
 

Lethal

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Ya these bans on substances are not out of the blue. It is not like "Surprise! we banned this drug 2 hours ago and you failed!"

All these athletes have proper notice of what is banned in their sport.
 

Brandon

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#22
It increases blood flow to the body. It would give her more endurance, if anything. It's not talent-in-a-bottle.
 

keefy

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[QUOTE="Brandon, post: 6505796]It increases blood flow to the body. It would give her more endurance, if anything. It's not talent-in-a-bottle.[/QUOTE]

if that is what it does then it would certainly help in a 3hour 3 set match and even more so in a men's 5 hour 5 set match.
Tennis today can seems to be a case of endurance over skill. Did you see the Davis cup final last year? Kyle Edmund was wiping the floor with Goffin, but he ran out of steam, perhaps if he used this substance he might have won that 3rd set and the match.
 
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Brandon

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[QUOTE="F34R, post: 6506043]I believe her... and I like her moans on the court. :snicker[/QUOTE]
They make the game easier to watch.
 

keefy

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I wonder if here boyfriend knew she took this drug? Grigor Dimitrov

More Russian athletes have been found usig the substance after ban date.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/35860851

At least 16 Russian sportspeople, including tennis player Maria Sharapova, have tested positive for the substance since it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on 1 January.

The latest four are yet to be named.

Russia's athletics federation is suspended from international competition for its alleged involvement in widespread doping, with a decision on potential reinstatement due in May.

Dmitry Shlyakhtin, head of the All-Russia Athletic Federation, said the latest positive tests will not "aggravate" that "complex" decision.

Russia's international ban - which includes this summer's Rio Olympic Games - applies only to its athletics federation and followed a Wada report last year that alleged "state-sponsored doping".
 
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[QUOTE="Fijiandoce, post: 6505471]Every athlete takes something. No matter how successful they are.

Just bad luck for Sharapova that no one informed her the drug she was using had been added to the banned list.[/QUOTE]
That's the point.

This punishment is the true hypocrisy certificate. It looks like she is the only athlete taking "something" in tennis.
Tennis, Cycling, Bodybuilding along with other high-intensity sports require the use of "extras".
 
May 20, 2008
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#28
.[QUOTE="Fijiandoce, post: 6505471]Every athlete takes something. No matter how successful they are.

Just bad luck for Sharapova that no one informed her the drug she was using had been added to the banned list.[/QUOTE]
No one informed her? Sorry, but athletes are given the list of ban drugs on a regular basis to give them time to to react to changes in banned substance. She was notified way back in December but claimed she missed the change. And to go even further other athletes were already banned before she got banned for using it. She knew which is why she gets it from Europe because it's banned in the states. She just finally got caught. Remember when Lance armstrong kept denying he was doping only to finally admit he did. Whenever athletes start leaving the country to get treated or train, flags start to raise. It's not really all that surprising because the truth is that a lot of athletes do get involved with some kind of performance enhancing, whether it's legal or illegal.
 
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MacP

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The Russian sports men/women have been accused of state sponsored cheating, the Russians have not been allowed to compete in the Paralympics.