Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova speaks at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles on Mar. 7, 2016.
Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images
March 14, 2016 6:06 PM EDT

The CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association showed support for Maria Sharapova, saying the tennis star’s use of meldonium after it was banned was “an honest mistake.”

In an interview with the Times, Steve Simon said he believes Sharapova “does not want to end her career this way and I know she feels the mistake is on her.”

Sharapova had several opportunities to see that meldonium had been added to the banned substances list before it became effective Jan. 1, but she says she did not read an email that listed the new drugs before testing positive at the Australian Open. She says she has been taking meldonium, which is typically used to treat circulatory problems, for 10 years.

“The last thing I want to see is any athlete have a positive drugs test,” said Simon. “There is nothing good that can come from that. Not for the athlete, not for the sport, not for anybody involved. That being said, there is not an athlete that is above the rules. Maria tested positive and as a result she is now in the Tennis Anti-Doping Program.”

[USA Today]


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