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It was subsequently revealed that she also failed tests for Meldonium in 2015 at Wimbledon and at the WTA Finals and Fed Cup final later in the year.Sharapova told the tribunal she had thought that she had to declare only those items that she was taking every day in the previous seven days.Between October 2014 and January 2016 Sharapova signed seven such forms and did not once disclose that she had been taking Mildronate, although she did list other substances.However, Sharapova told the tribunal that she had taken Mildronate before each of her matches at the Australian Open.Whatever view you take of why Sharapova was taking the banned drug Meldonium – and the tribunal concluded that in the end she was using it to enhance her performance rather than for genuine medical reasons – the level of her incompetence in failing to realise that it was on a prohibited list is astonishing for someone who had otherwise been so professional in all areas of her life.Sharapova convinced the tribunal that the original reason she started taking Meldonium – or more specifically the branded drug Mildronate – 10 years ago had indeed been to prevent recurring viral illnesses from which she had been suffering.
For reasons which she failed to explain to the tribunal’s satisfaction, Sharapova continued to take three of the drugs originally prescribed by Dr Skalny, including Mildronate.
The tribunal reported that the drug, when taken shortly before exercise, had “a positive effect on energy metabolism and stamina”.
Dr Anatoly Skalny, the Russian doctor who originally prescribed Sharapova’s medication, which eventually comprised a mind-boggling total of 30 different medications and supplements, regularly consulted a Wada laboratory to check that everything was legal.
However, the damage to her reputation contained in this damning report will surely never be undone.
She had chosen a suitably mournful black outfit, wore minimal make-up and kept her pretty head bowed.The final sentence of the findings of the independent tribunal investigating Maria Sharapova’s failed drugs tests says it all.