“In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans,” Maria wrote. “Within hours of my announcement, you showed me support and loyalty, which I could only expect to hear when someone would be at the top of their profession.”
She continued, “I wanted to let you know that your wonderful words put a smile on my face. I’d like to play again and hope to have the chance to do so. Your messages give me great encouragement. This message isn’t anything else but to say thank you. Thank you very much.”
Read the rest of her note below!
I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion. The first email I immediately…
The 34-year-old tennis star reacted to the news during a press conference for her upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown match with pal Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday (March 8) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“I think most people were happy she was upfront and very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at in terms of the list at the end of the year,” Serena said. “It’s just taking responsibility, which she admitted that she was willing to do and ready to do. Just hope for the best for everybody in that situation.”
“As Maria said, she’s ready to take full responsibility,” Serena added. “She showed a lot of courage and a lot of heart. I think she’s always shown courage and heart in everything she’s done, and this is no different.”
Both ladies said that when they take medication, they always check the banned substances list just to make sure they are in the clear.
“Any time we take any medication, we double, triple and quadruple check, because sometimes even things like cough drops or nasal sprays can be on the list,” Caroline said. “I think as athletes we always make sure to really make sure there’s nothing in it.”
Serena Williams Reacts to Maria Sharapova’s Failed Drug Test
Pictured inside: Serena and Caroline attending the World Tennis Day Celebration Gala at Essex House on Monday night (March 7) in the Big Apple.
The 28-year-old tennis player has been the world’s highest-paid female athlete for the past 11 years, mostly from her many endorsements.
Nike, TAG Heuer, and Porsche have all announced that they have dropped Maria following the news.
“We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” Nike announced. “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
Maria‘s deal with TAG Heuer had ended in December 2015 and the brand was looking to renew the contract, but they are stopping negotiations. “We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the Swiss watch brand has suspended negotiations,” the brand’s spokesperson said.
Porsche has announced that the brand will “postpone planned activities” with Maria “until further details are released and we can analyze the situation.”
Maria‘s punishment from the International Tennis Federtaion has not yet been announced, but a provisional suspension begins on March 12. A positive drug test calls for a four-year suspension, but because Maria unknowingly took a banned substance, the suspension could be reduced.
Maria Sharapova has announced that she failed a drug test taken back in January at the Australian Open.
The 28-year-old tennis player did not know that a drug she was legally using in the past had just been added to the prohibited substance list in January.
“I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it. For the past ten years, I have been given a medicine called Mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF letter I found out that it also has another name of Meldonium, which I did not know,” Maria said during a press conference on Monday (March 7). “It’s very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on the banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine for the past 10 years.”
“On January 1, the rules have changed and Meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known,” Maria added. “I was given this medicine by my doctor for several health issues I was having in 2006.”
Some of the issues that Maria faced included the flu every couple months and the evidence of diabetes, which runs in her family.
“I know with this that I face consequences,” Maria continued. “I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game. I know many of you thought that I would be announcing my retirement, but if I was ever going to announce my retirement, it wouldn’t be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.”