Maria Sharapova said Monday that she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January. A five-time Grand Slam champion, Sharapova, 28, is one of tennis’s biggest stars and has been the highest-paid female athlete for 11 straight years.
She said she had been taking mildronate since 2006 for health issues. Mildronate, a heart medication, is also known as meldonium, which was added to the prohibited list this year. Sharapova said she received an email from the World Anti-Doping Agency in December that noted changes to tennis’s program for 2016. She said that the email included a link to a list of banned substances, but that she did not look at it.
“I have to take full responsibility for it,” Sharapova said at a news conference in Los Angeles. “It’s my body, and I’m responsible for what I put into it.”