Professional tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted Monday she failed a drug test at the Australian Open earlier this year.
According to ESPN, Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, also known as mildronate, a recently banned drug that she has been taking since 2006 for health troubles. The drug enhances a person’s rehabilitation and stamina, and was legal until the beginning of this year.
“But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known.”
After hearing the news, Nike, who has long sponsored Maria Sharapova, subsequently announced it has suspended its relationship with the tennis star.
Sharapova has dealt with her share of injuries throughout her career. She withdrew from last year’s U.S. Open with a right leg injury, and will not play in this month’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells because of a left forearm injury.
Going forward, Sharapova will turn 29 next month and is currently ranked No. 6 by the Women’s Tennis Association.
“I know that with this, I face consequences,” a disappointed Sharapova said. “I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”