Could Maria Sharapova be Facing Suspension for Failed Drug Test?

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Could Maria Sharapova be Facing Suspension for Failed Drug Test?

Samantha Stewart, Staff Writer

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Tennis prodigy, Maria Sharapova, usually makes headlines for her numerous tennis accomplishments, but not recently. Sharapova made her worldwide fans disappointed after failing drug test for meldonium. The tennis star may be facing between a one to four year suspension for taking the banned substance, which could possibly end her career. She is the world’s highest paid female athlete, banking more than $20 million annually, and tennis’s most bankable star.

Sharapova was tested at the Australian Open back in January 2016, where she lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. After recently given notice of testing positive for the banned substance, she confronted the issue in a press conference stating that she had no knowledge that meldonium was banned back in January 2016. Sharapova stated that for ten years, her family physician has prescribed her the drug to help with heart problems, magnesium deficiency, and family history of diabetes. Even if she took the drug to help with these illnesses, it is only supposed to be used in a 4-6 week course every 2 years, not constantly for ten years.

Meldonium was sentenced as banned substance in January after the World Anti-Doping Agency ran a study that concluded the drug was being abused by athletes to enhance their performance. Reportedly, the agency e-mailed Sharapova numerous times warning her of the new ban, but she claims to neglected to open them. The International Tennis Federation and the Women’s Tennis Association warned players five times in December, a month before the ban, of the new rules against Meldonium. Just like Sharapova, more than 60 athletes including Olympians have tested positive this year alone for Meldonium.

Many companies whom sponsored the tennis star have announced their decision to stop sponsoring Sharapova, such as Nike, Porsche, and Tag Heuer. On top of the lost sponsorships, Sharapova could be banned from the sport, marking her possible retirement. Head, racket company, has chosen to give Sharapova the benefit of the doubt by continuing their contract to sponsor the athlete. Sharapova’s mistake could end her career, which many have claimed to be inevible due to no major wins in the last two years.

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