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Sharapova thanks fans, hopes to play again

Embattled tennis star Maria Sharapova has thanked her fans for their support since she admitted failing a drugs test.

"In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans," Sharapova wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.


On Monday Sharapova announced that she had tested positive for the prohibited substance meldonium – which is also known as mildronate – at the Australian Open and took "full responsibility for it." Sharapova stated she had been taking the medicine for the "past 10 years."

Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) 2016 Prohibited List on 1 January.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that Sharapova is to be provisionally suspended "with effect from 12 March, pending determination of the case."

"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," Sharapova's Facebook post said.

The tennis star also stated that she was "determined to play tennis again and I hope I will have the chance to do so."

One of the biggest names in tennis, Sharapova roared on to the world stage in 2004 when, at the age of 17, she beat Serena Williams in straight sets to win Wimbledon.

In the wake of her admission on Monday, sponsors Nike and Porsche announced the suspension of their relationships with the star, while Tag Heuer said that it would not be renewing its sponsorship deal.