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Maria Sharapova on Failing Drug Test: I Made A Huge Mistake

After competing in the Australian Open, former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium. The 28-year-old said she was taking Meldonium for "health issues," including a family history of diabetes. She took it for 10 years, but it became a prohibited substance on January 1. Then, on December 22, she received a letter from WADA informing her of the changes to prohibited substances. Although, she says she did not look at the list.

Now, the International Tennis Federation has confirmed that she will be provisionally suspended from the sport on March 12. Only a few hours later, Nike announced that it was suspending their $70 million endorsement with Sharapova. In addition, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer said it will not renew its deal with Sharapova. Porche said they are "certainly not dumping" Sharapova, but they are currently "not pursuing any further activities" with her.

According to Forbes, Sharapova earns $30 million a year in endorsements with American Express, Avon, Evian and Porche. Sharapova is also the face of Avon fragrance called Luck. On Tuesday morning, Avon said they are not commenting on their contract with Sharapova. On Monday, Sharapova delivered the shocking news at a press conference held in Los Angeles. Reading a written statement she said, "I had been legally taking this for 10 years. I take responsibility for my professionalism in my job and I made a big mistake. I know there will be consequences and I don't want to end my career this way. I really hope I will be given another chance to play tennis again. I can't blame anyone but myself. I have let my fans down. I know many of you thought I was retiring but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet."

She went on to say, "It is very important for you to understand that 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 1st the rules had changed and meldonium had become a prohibited substance which I had not known." Her fortune is thought to be over $100 million.

After Sharapova's press conference, fellow players and analysts were quick to respond through social media. Martina Navratilova tweeted, "Hold your horses everyone- about Maria- I don't have all the facts, I hope it's an honest mistake,stuff was legal as far as I know till 2015." Jennifer Capriati tweeted, "Im extremely angry and disappointed. I had to lose my career and never opted to cheat no matter what.i had to throw in the towel and suffer." Moreover, James Blake tweeted, "Wow. Classy of @MariaSharapova to hold a press conference for this and admit making a mistake. Definitely agree that have to be aware though." Ryan Harrison tweeted that it was an "honest mistake from a great champion."

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