Maria Sharapova addresses the media to make an announcement that she failed a doping test at the Australian Open. Robyn Beck / AFP
Maria Sharapova addresses the media to make an announcement that she failed a doping test at the Australian Open. Robyn Beck / AFP

‘I made a huge mistake’: Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova faces ban for failed dope test



Five-time grand slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova said Monday she failed a dope test at the Australian Open, and is not sure what punishment she will face for her “huge mistake.”

The former world No 1 from Russia said a change in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) banned list for 2016 led to an inadvertent violation, for which she will be “provisionally suspended” by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

In a sign of what the affair could mean to Sharapova’s mass of money-spinning endorsements, US sportswear maker Nike said it would halt its relationship with her as the case moves forward.

“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.”

Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium, a drug she said she had been taking since 2006 but was only added to the banned list this year.

“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it,” Sharapova said at a press conference at a downtown Los Angeles hotel.

“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down. I let my sport down that I’ve 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 — and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”

Comment: Australia's Davis Cup boys Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic need to grow up

The ITF confirmed in a statement that Sharapova had tested positive on January 26 and had accepted the finding when she was notified on March 2.

“Ms Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from 12 March, pending determination of the case,” the ITF said.

Sharapova said she was co-operating with the ITF and did not yet know the extent of the sanctions she would face.

Her attorney, John Haggerty, said the positive test could carry a ban of up to four years, but that mitigating circumstances could see a lesser penalty.

Shamil Tarpishchev, head of the Russian tennis federation, told the TASS news agency he believed Sharapova would still have a chance to play at the Rio Olympics in August.

Sharapova, 28, burst onto the international scene as she giggled and grunted her way to the Wimbledon crown in 2004.

She won the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008 and the French Open in 2012 and 2014.

Her ferocity on the court, business acumen and glamorous looks have all combined to make her a marketing juggernaut and the overseer of such successful ventures as her Sugarpova line of sweets.

She has 35 WTA singles titles, more than $36 million (Dh132m) in career earnings and is currently ranked No 7 in the world.

“I am very saddened to hear this news about Maria,” WTA chief executive Steve Simon said in a statement.

“Maria is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity. Nevertheless, as Maria acknowledged, it is every player’s responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible.”

Sharapova said she originally began taking Meldonium for a variety of symptoms, including a tendency to become ill often, an irregular EKG heart test and a family history of diabetes.

Meldonium is used to treat heart trouble, including angina and heart failure.

Comment: Recent stats a concern for Rafael Nadal, but mean streak should return with confidence and time

In adding it to the banned list, Wada said there was evidence it has been used by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.

Several sports figures have tested positive for it this year, including Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova, whose positive test was revealed earlier on Monday.

Wada issued a statement saying officials were aware of Sharapova’s case, but would not comment further until the ITF had ruled.

Sharapova has struggled with injuries during her career and has played just three tournaments since Wimbledon last year.

She pulled out of the 2015 US Open with a leg injury and withdrew from the tournament starting this week in Indian Wells, California with a left forearm injury.

Her most recent match was her Australian Open quarter-final loss to long-time rival Serena Williams.

The short-notice press conference promising a “major announcement” had sparked speculation that she might be preparing to announce her retirement.

“I know many of you thought I would be retiring today, 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,” Sharapova said, trying with little success to inject a lighter tone into the proceedings.

Asked if the doctor who prescribed the drug should have been aware it was now banned, Sharapova refused to shift the blame.

“I have to take full responsibility for it,” she said.

“At the end of day, everything you do is about you.”

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport

SPECS

Nissan 370z Nismo

Engine: 3.7-litre V6

Transmission: seven-speed automatic

Power: 363hp

Torque: 560Nm

Price: Dh184,500

INDIA SQUAD

Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

BUNDESLIGA FIXTURES

Saturday, May 16 (kick-offs UAE time)

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke (4.30pm) 
RB Leipzig v Freiburg (4.30pm) 
Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin (4.30pm) 
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn  (4.30pm) 
Augsburg v Wolfsburg (4.30pm) 
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach (7.30pm)

Sunday, May 17

Cologne v Mainz (4.30pm),
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich (7pm)

Monday, May 18

Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen (9.30pm)

All or Nothing

Amazon Prime

Four stars

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Company profile

Company name: Tuhoon
Year started: June 2021
Co-founders: Fares Ghandour, Dr Naif Almutawa, Aymane Sennoussi
Based: Riyadh
Sector: health care
Size: 15 employees, $250,000 in revenue
Investment stage: seed
Investors: Wamda Capital, Nuwa Capital, angel investors

Boulder shooting victims

• Denny Strong, 20
• Neven Stanisic, 23
• Rikki Olds, 25
• Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
• Suzanne Fountain, 59
• Teri Leiker, 51
• Eric Talley, 51
• Kevin Mahoney, 61
• Lynn Murray, 62
• Jody Waters, 65

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

The Al Barzakh Festival takes place on Wednesday and Thursday at 7.30pm in the Red Theatre, NYUAD, Saadiyat Island. Tickets cost Dh105 for adults from platinumlist.net

'Jurassic World Dominion'

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt

Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 5.2-litre V10

Power: 640hp at 8,000rpm

Torque: 565Nm at 6,500rpm

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto

Price: From Dh1 million

On sale: Q3 or Q4 2022

How to turn your property into a holiday home
  1. Ensure decoration and styling – and portal photography – quality is high to achieve maximum rates.
  2. Research equivalent Airbnb homes in your location to ensure competitiveness.
  3. Post on all relevant platforms to reach the widest audience; whether you let personally or via an agency know your potential guest profile – aiming for the wrong demographic may leave your property empty.
  4. Factor in costs when working out if holiday letting is beneficial. The annual DCTM fee runs from Dh370 for a one-bedroom flat to Dh1,200. Tourism tax is Dh10-15 per bedroom, per night.
  5. Check your management company has a physical office, a valid DTCM licence and is licencing your property and paying tourism taxes. For transparency, regularly view your booking calendar.
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The BIO:

He became the first Emirati to climb Mount Everest in 2011, from the south section in Nepal

He ascended Mount Everest the next year from the more treacherous north Tibetan side

By 2015, he had completed the Explorers Grand Slam

Last year, he conquered K2, the world’s second-highest mountain located on the Pakistan-Chinese border

He carries dried camel meat, dried dates and a wheat mixture for the final summit push

His new goal is to climb 14 peaks that are more than 8,000 metres above sea level

Results

STAGE

1 . Filippo Ganna (Ineos) - 0:13:56

2. Stefan Bissegger (Education-Nippo) - 0:00:14

3. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) - 0:00:21

4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) - 0:00:24

5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) - 0:00:30

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) - 4:00:05

2. Joao Almeida (QuickStep) - 0:00:05

3. Mattia Cattaneo (QuickStep) - 0:00:18

4. Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) - 0:00:33

5. Adam Yates (Ineos) - 0:00:39

Ahmed Raza

UAE cricket captain

Age: 31

Born: Sharjah

Role: Left-arm spinner

One-day internationals: 31 matches, 35 wickets, average 31.4, economy rate 3.95

T20 internationals: 41 matches, 29 wickets, average 30.3, economy rate 6.28

A Long Way Home by Peter Carey
Faber & Faber

Zayed Centre for Research

The Zayed Centre for Research is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift in 2014 from Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 480hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 570Nm from 2,300-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 10.4L/100km

Price: from Dh547,600

On sale: now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now


Abtal

Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      Abtal