Maria Sharapova Thanks Fans on Facebook After Positive Meldonium Test

Maria Sharapova faces a ban of up to four years for her use of Meldonium.
Maria Sharapova at The L.A. Hotel Downtown, March 7, following her admission of a positive meldonium test. The tennis star posted an emotional Facebook message on Wednesday. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova has posted an emotional message to her supporters on Facebook as she waits for an imminent provisional suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium.

Sharapova, the world No. 6 with five Grand Slam titles to her name, revealed in a press conference on Monday evening in Los Angeles that she had tested positive for the drug at the Australian Open in January.

Meldonium , which Sharapova was taking under the name mildronate, can be used to treat angina and other heart-related conditions and was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on January 1, after spending a year under review.

Sharapova’s lawyers claim her coaching team was unaware that mildronate was the same substance as meldonium, but the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and WADA say they issued five warnings combined in late 2015 that the drug was about to be banned.

Sharapova has admitted failing to click on the link in an email sent to her by WADA, which was notifying her that the drug would soon be banned. It is not available for sale in the U.S., where she lives, and is not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

“I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion,” Sharapova wrote on Wednesday.

“The first email I immediately opened was from my best friend, you know, the type of person who can make you smile and cry with only one word and who I spent the evening on the phone with, checking up on me, how was I doing?

“I have not been online much except the odd search for a new antique coffee table (random, I know), but my friends made a collage for me with all your beautiful messages and hashtags that you created (#‎IStandWithMaria‬ and ‪#‎LetMariaPlay‬).”

 

 

I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion.  The first email I immediately...

Posted by Maria Sharapova on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Sharapova says she took meldonium, which has shown up in a rash of positive tests across endurance sports this year, for 10 years from 2006 on the advice of her family doctor to treat an irregular heartbeat and the possible onset of family-related diabetes.

She will be provisionally suspended on March 12 and could face a ban of up to four years.