Maria Sharapova Reveals She Failed Drug Test at Australian Open

Maria Sharapova Reveals She Failed Drug Test at Australian Open

Tennis pro Maria Sharapova admitted during a Los Angeles press conference on Monday, March 7, that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January. As a result, she has been suspended.

"A few days ago I received a letter from the [International Tennis Federation] that I failed a drug test at the Australian Open. I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it," Sharapova, 28, said at the podium.

The athlete revealed that she tested positive for meldonium, a substance she first began taking for a health issue in 2006. The drug was only recently added to the list of banned substances. She will begin her suspension on March 12.

"For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my doctor, my family doctor, and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name, meldonium, which I did not know," she continued. "It's very important for you to understand for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA's banned list, and I had been legally 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."

The Russian native, a five-time Grand Slam champion, failed the doping test on January 26. That same day, she lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

"I made a huge mistake. I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of 4 that I love so deeply," Sharapova added on Monday.

She also addressed rumors that she's ready to retire. "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," she said. "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."

Watch Sharapova's press conference in the video above.

Can't get enough of Us? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter packed with the latest celeb news, hot pics and more!