Just days after Maria Sharapova announced that she tested positive during the Australia Open in January for meldonium, a recent addition to the International Tennis Federation's banned substance list, she's thanking fans for their unwavering support.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, the 28-year-old tennis pro penned, "I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion...In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans. 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 added, "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."
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Sharapova, 28, said she had been taking meldonium, a blood flow-promoting drug, for 10 years for numerous health issues. Meldonium was banned because it aids oxygen uptake and endurance.
According to The International Tennis Federation, Sharapova will be provisionally suspended pending determination of the case.
Three of the Russian tennis star's major sponsors cut ties with her after she acknowledged failing the doping test at the Australian Open. Nike, watch brand Tag Heuer and luxury car company Porsche moved quickly to distance themselves from the five-time Grand Slam winner after she announced the positive test.
Shortly after her announcement Monday, fellow tennis star Serena Williams weighed in on the matter during a press conference for the BNP Paribas Showdown match 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," Williams explained.
"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."