Maria Sharapova, 2016
Maria Sharapova has long been the least-admired tennis player among her peers, but even the sport’s top echelon were shocked when the Russian was barred from the sport for two years, following a positive drug test for the banned substance meldonium.
Maria had been taking the medication legally for 10 years. It was initially designed for heart patients but it also boosts endurance and stamina, and was added to the list of banned substances on January 1, 2016. Just weeks later the star failed a test at the Australian Open.
Maria admitted she received a letter in late 2015 advising her of the changes, but said she did not read it. “I take great responsibility in my job every day. I made a huge mistake,” she said at a press conference.
“I’ve let my fans down, I’ve let this sport down. I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I hope I will be given another chance to play this game again.”
Maria appealed her two-year ban, which was eventually reduced to 15 months. She returned to the court this April.