Tennis champion Maria Sharapova has confirmed she does not wish to retire from the sport, and hopes to play again, despite having just failed a major doping test.
The 28-year-old, who is currently the world's highest-paid female athlete, announced the doping news in front of a packed press conference in Los Angeles this evening.
She explained that she had received word from the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016.
— Bryce Christian (@BryceChristian) March 7, 2016
Meldonium was added to the Federation's official banned substance list at the beginning of January, but Maria said it had been prescribed to her by her family doctor for the last ten years.
"I've made a huge mistake," she told the gathered media.
"I know that with this I face consequences… I don’t want to end my career this way and I hope that I will have a chance to play again."
Meldonium is thought to increase endurance, improve rehabilitation after exercise, and protect the body against stress.
Many press outlets had predicted that Maria's "major announcement" would be related to her retirement, but she assured them this was not the case – and did so quite sassily indeed.
"I know many of you thought that I would be announcing my retirement but if I was ever going to… it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet."
Maria has won five Grand Slam singles titles and has won each of the four major tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the United States Open – at least once.