On the highly anticipated press conference, Maria Sharapova announced she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova was informed by the International Tennis Federation that she had tested positive Meldonium, a drug that Maria had used since 2006 due some health problems and family history of diabetes. The substance was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances on Jan. 1, 2016. Maria had been legally taking the drug for ten years.

At this point, Maria doesn’t know yet what will be the penalty or how long she will be out of the tour.

On late December 2015, Maria Sharapova received an email that informed her of the new substances added to the list, but she consciously decided not to read it.

“I made a huge mistake,” Sharapova said. “I don’t want to end my career this way.”

Her parents were also presented at the press conference.

Maria also made a public apology to her fans.

As a fan of Maria for over ten years, I can safely say that this only makes me appreciate her courage even more after facing the press with this news. My support for her now will be stronger and I cannot wait to report the news that she will be back on court.

Maria Sharapova has called a press conference scheduled for Monday in which she will make a “major announcement” according to her management.

The press conference will be live on her website www.mariasharapova.com

DATE:  MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2016

TIME:  12:00 PM PST


Q. What gives you more satisfaction? A crisp, clean win or a battle like that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: A crisp win, as in…

Q. As in, you know, straightforward win, very few games, or a real tough kicker like that.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, I think you take everything that you can get. I mean, I felt like there was a few ups and downs in the beginning after not taking some of my chances.

I think it was really easy for me just to go away and let her run with the first set, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I was still there and kept motivating myself to try to open up some more doors and finally breakthrough. I was definitely hesitant on some of those points.

But overall, yeah, felt like a quality match. Yeah.

Q. Some great serves at the right time. Do you think it made the difference today?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I thought I served quite well; I found my spots; hit the line many times today. That was important.

Q. I know you served quite well, also some unforced errors. What exactly was going on for you on court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Can you rephrase that question, please?

Q. Some great serving and also some unforced errors.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Were there any winners? (Laughter.)

Q. There was quite a few. Just saying like…
MARIA SHARAPOVA: If you could paint the whole picture for me first, and then…

Q. Just seems like there was a mixed bag.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.

(more…)

Q. Are you happy overall of how you played today with different conditions, the roof on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I think last year I didn’t play an indoor match until the final until they closed the roof, so I guess it’s good to play in a different environment.Yeah, against somebody again I haven’t faced before, which is quite rare, but, you know, felt like her game was a little bit unpredictable. I had to make some adjustments. She came up with a few good shots and a few errors, some great big first serves and some shorter ones.So I think for me it was really about adjusting today.Q. At the end of the first set you had a bit of a rough patch on your serve. When it’s like this, was it the timing? How do you fix it right away?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, my toss went off a little bit, but I thought I was able to serve quite well the rest of the match except that game, so that was good.Improved my returns a little bit today compared to the first match.

Q. Players often talk about confidence coming from wins and from matches. When you have a spell like you’ve where you haven’t played, missed the first tournament of the year, you come in a little bit cold, where do you gather that confidence from?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think from ending the season on a pretty, yeah, good run, I would say, considering I hadn’t played much since Wimbledon. The matches that I did play I thought they were of good intensity. They were physical; I got through them.

Yeah, I think that gave me — especially in Prague, I think, even in the end, as a team, we didn’t win, I thought they were very big personal victories for me. Playing Kvitova in front of 15,000 screaming Czech fans, it felt like there was a lot on the line, and I felt I had to face that myself, and someone I had lost to just a couple of weeks before.

It was a big win. So I think taking that and bringing it into the season, there is definitely — it’s not like I had so much time off and it’s not like I had a really long offseason.
Q. Do you think your lack of match practice heading into the Australian summer is a good thing for you again?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn’t really have much choice, so I don’t think if it’s a good thing or bad thing. I just work with what I have.

Q. Quite a few dropshots from you today. How would you rate your mastery of that after recently adding it to your arsenal?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Mastery and arsenal in two sentences. That’s quite a vocabulary you’ve got there.

Yeah, it’s something that I have added to my game, and that’s helped me, you know, especially playing against opponents that stay far back.

When I’m aggressive and I have depth on my shots, it’s just good to have that variety to bring them in, to move forward myself. I mean, I had a couple of good ones; I had a couple of really crappy ones. I’d say it was pretty mediocre today.
(more…)

Q. First match of the season for you. Pleased with that effort?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah. I guess I am. It was just nice to get on court and face the opportunity of playing a first match. No matter how much you train, it’s always different when you walk out onto the court. Definitely a relief to get that first one out of the way, yeah.

Q. Are there extra nerves after such a layoff, after the injuries, all of that stuff?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, there’s always a little bit of nerves, sometimes more, sometimes less, going into any Grand Slam, but especially when it’s your first tournament of the season. Just a different feeling. I try not to focus so much on the opponent or the atmosphere and just really focus on myself and try to bring the positives of a good training week, just try to execute that, yeah, keep it simple.

Q. What were you particularly pleased about today in your game, and to the extent there was any rust, where were you feeling it most?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I felt like I adjusted quite well to the conditions, although you don’t really notice it. There’s quite a breeze going to one side. I think just moving your feet, I definitely started moving back a little too much towards the end of the second set. I wasn’t as aggressive as I was during the whole match. That gave her a chance to get back in the points.

Overall I could have returned better. Served quite well, yeah.

(more…)