Maria Sharapova Tests Positive for Banned Substance at Australian Open

Famed athlete Maria Sharapova recently admitted she had tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open back in January.

The five-time Grand Slam champion was taking meldonium, a drug recently added to the banned substances list. Her positive test occurred on January 26 — the same day that Sharapova lost to Serena Williams.

Since that loss and her positive test, Sharapova has not played due to a forearm injury. Now, she is provisionally suspended pending an official ruling.

What is Meldonium?

Meldonium is a drug that was developed in Latvia to help aid blood flow in heart patients. It’s not currently approved for sale in the United States, and this year it was placed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list after appearing on the Monitoring List in 2015.

When taken in high doses, meldonium does have performance-enhancing qualities. A higher concentration of meldonium use among athletes led for the drug to be moved from the monitored list to the banned list.

Sharapova’s Meldonium Use

Sharapova was prescribed the drug in 2006 after facing a number of health problems, including frequent bouts of influenza, magnesium deficiency, irregular EKG results, and indicators of diabetes.



The tennis star continued her use of meldonium throughout the years, saying she did check the banned substances list annually, but that she was not diligent about checking this year. This lead to her testing positive.

Typically, a failed test would be followed by an adjudication process, which might include testing her B sample. However, Sharapova requested that the B test not be completed, probably since she acknowledged her use of the drug.

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