Maria Sharapova and her positive drugs test. What we saw yesterday was textbook PR from sport's richest woman.

Front-foot the issue, own it, say sorry. And hope that after the initial storm it will go away.

It won't. It's too big.

And Sharapova's excuses - enveloped in a healthy dose of arrogance - are paper-thin.


She lives in the States and this drug isn't approved for use there. You can't get it in the US - but this is what I've been reading this morning. It is one of Latvia's most exported products and you can get it in the surrounding countries too - Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

WADA - the World Anti-Doping Authority - was monitoring it, then when it discovered a number of high performance athletes were taking it, it went on the banned list.

Sharapova said she didn't realise it had become a banned drug. That is a remarkable show of ignorance on her part. She earns US$30 million a year, largely in endorsements. To suggest you would put all of that at risk by not looking at the updated banned drugs list when its sent through from WADA - well, that's farcical.

She also says she still seeks the advice of a family doctor in Russia. Again, that's hard to believe. She would have a high performance team of people around her - doctors, health experts, physios, sports psychologists, you name it. If you're the highest paid and arguably the most recognised female athlete on the planet - you give the old family GP the heave-ho and partly for this very reason. You tap into high performance specialists.

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Nike has suspended her endorsement contract. So too has Tag Heuer and Porsche. More will likely follow.

And now this five-time grand slam champion is facing up to a four-year ban. Russian Olympic authorities say it's an honest mistake and they want Sharapova to play at the Olympics this year. But I can't see how that can happen.

If Sharapova wants to prove her innocence, then it's simple - she has to provide diagnostic evidence that she has a condition that required a meldonium prescription.

If she can't do that, her whole reasoning goes out the door. There is no other option than to ban her.

It's a sorry, sorry end to what was a pretty remarkable career.

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