Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has been suspended from the sport after failing a drug test in January (16).
The Russian ace, a former world number one, announced the news at a Los Angeles press conference on Monday (07Mar16), revealing she had tested positive for the drug Meldonium, which had recently been banned, at the recent Australian Open.
"I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it," the 28-year-old said.
She went on to admit she had received an email from officials at the World Anti-Doping Agency about new prohibited substances in December (15), but failed to check the updated list and was unaware her prescription medication Mildronate, which can boost an athlete's endurance and aid in rehabilitation, was also known as Meldonium.
"I made a huge mistake," the five-time Grand Slam champion confessed, before apologizing to her supporters. "I have let my fans down, and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four that I love so deeply.
"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."
Sharapova's suspension will begin on 12 March (16), pending a full investigation into the case, according to officials at The International Tennis Federation. First-time offenders are typically penalized for two years, reports People.com.