Maria Sharapova denies reports she was warned five times over meldonium

Maria Sharapova has amassed a personal fortune of $200 mn and according to Forbes she earned almost $30 mn last year the bulk of which came from off-court

Maria Sharapova denies reports she was warned five times over meldonium

Head CEO Johan Eliasch says the World Anti-Doping Agency should have imposed "a dosage limitation only" on meldonium instead of completely banning it as of January 1.

Maria Sharapova hit back Friday at suggestions she received 5 separate warnings about changes to tennis' anti-doping rules which ultimately led to her testing positive for a banned drug.

One, though, hasn't: racket manufacturer Head, which publicly backed her and even extended her contract.

Global sports brand Nike said it would suspend its relationship with Sharapova while the investigation is ongoing.

Sharapova said she has been taking meldonium for 10 years for various health issues and did not know it had been banned. "That is not true and it never happened," she wrote.

Sharapova claims she was taking the drug for medical reasons for the last ten years, but that version of events has been questioned in recent days as it has been revealed that meldonium can be performance enhancing. 

Sharapova also said she had received a letter from WADA with a new list of prohibited formulas, but did not look at it well enough. Sharapova has 35 career singles titles and more than $36 million in career prize winnings.

Serena Williams undisputed world number one and 21-time Grand Slam title winner banked almost $25 million in 2015
Serena Williams undisputed world number one and 21-time Grand Slam title winner banked almost $25 million in 2015

"But I have also been aware that some - not all, but some - in the media distort, exaggerate and fail to accurately report the facts about what happened", she posted.

She said she was first given it by a family doctor after she frequently became sick, had irregular electrocardiogram results, a magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.

"On the other hand, as someone who has been involved in tennis for so many years and has always believed in clean and fair sport, if there was a mistake and she was found to be positive of doping of a certain substance, there should be consequences for that".

At a press conference at Indian Wells on Thursday, Murray described Head's initial stance as "strange " , adding: "I think at this stage it's important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in my view".

He said the high number of athletes testing positive for meldonium since January showed that many athletes were getting phoney prescriptions for legal performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). 

"Regarding the number of meldonium positives, I can tell you that it was at 60 adverse analytical findings (since January 1st) recorded on Monday and that number is growing", Nichols told the Times in an email message.

As the tennis world continues to react to the bombshell development, Rafael Nadal - who has been forced to deny he has ever committed doping infractions - didn't absolve Sharapova and said tennis is suffering.

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