Maria Sharapova Failed Drug Test, Is She Banned From Australian Open?

Maria Sharapova Failed Drug Test, Is She Banned From Australian Open?
Maria Sharapova Justin Smith/Flickr CC by 2.0
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Maria Sharapova has recently been tested positive for a drug called meldonium. Will she be prohibited from participating in the Australian Open?


Last Monday, Maria Sharapova went public and announced that she has been tested positive for a banned substance called meldonium. She made the announcement at a press conference in Los Angeles. “I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” she said. She then revealed that she has been taking a prohibited substance but was completely unaware that it was declared forbidden for Tennis players. She also clarified that she has been taking the drug as prescribed by her family doctor in order to remedy her diabetes condition, a genetic disease that she incurred since 2006, according to BBC Sports.

After her announcement, New York Times reported that Nike, one of Sharapova’s long-time sponsors, has suspended their contract with the tennis player pending investigation.

Sharapova’s lawyer, John Haggerty, has already spoken with Sports Illustrated in her behalf.  “We are attempting to have a conversation with ITF up front because we think there are laundry list of extremely mitigating circumstances that once taken into consideration would result in a dramatically reducing any sanction that they might want to impose on Maria,” Haggerty said. When asked about the athlete’s compliance to the ITF standards, Haggerty explained further, “My client believes that it’s something that as a professional athlete it’s your obligation to know everything that goes into your body, so she has no problem with that standard and has for her entire career lived up to that standard.” He went on and said, “It was only for these 25 days in January that she had something in her body that was a prohibited substance.”

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It was also revealed that the drug Maria Sharapova has ingested was not approved by the FDA. However, according to her statement, her family doctor had prescribed it to remedy her frequent health problems since 2006. At present, there has been no confirmation as to whether Maria Sharapova will be allowed to participate in the Australian Open since the case is still under review. She could face a ban of up to fours years.