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Maria Sharapova said Monday she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January.

A five-time Grand Slam champion, Sharapova, 28, is one of tennis' biggest stars and has been the highest-paid female athlete for 11 straight years. She is provisionally suspended from the tour pending further action.

The usual penalty for first-time offenders is two years.

Sharapova said she had been taking Mildronate since 2006 for health issues. Mildronate, a heart medication, is also known as Meldonium, which was added to the prohibited list this year.

Sharapova said she received an email from the World Anti-Doping Agency in December that noted changes to tennis' program for 2016. She said the email including a link to a list of banned substances, but she did not look at it.

"I have to take full responsibility for it," Sharapova said at a news conference in Los Angeles. "It's my body, and I'm responsible for what I put into it."

Last fall, the agency said Meldonium was included on the prohibited list because of evidence athletes were using it to enhance performance.


King to FIFA head: Hire more women

Tennis great Billie Jean King served new FIFA president Gianni Infantino with a challenge: Hire more women for top jobs. After years of scandals, the male-dominated soccer world body has a chance to transform itself, King said in a keynote speech at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. Infantino took over a FIFA with no women in top management having responsibility for soccer, commercial, legal or financial issues after more than 17 years under Sepp Blatter.

SCANDAL: Former Venezuela soccer federation president Rafael Esquivel was extradited to face bribery charges in the United States in the widening FIFA case.


Brem on verge of slalom crown

Eva-Maria Brem took another step toward her first crystal globe by winning the next-to-last giant slalom of the women's World Cup season in Jasna, Slovakia, and Swiss skier Lara Gut finished fourth to go to the top of the overall standings.


AUTOS: Jim Freeman, a former media relations official for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, died Sunday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He was 73.

COLLEGES: A lawsuit accuses Iowa athletic director Gary Barta of unfairly removing female coaches and the top women's sports administrator during a decade-long tenure stained by gender bias.

CYCLING: French rider Arnaud Demare produced a late sprint to clinch the first stage of the Paris-Nice race and claim his biggest victory since winning the national championships two years ago.

FIGURE SKATING: Former European ice dancing champion Ekaterina Bobrova told Russian media that she failed a doping test, ruling her and partner Dmitry Soloviev out of the world championships in Boston this month.

OLYMPICS: U.S. Olympic Committee leaders say athletes have to decide for themselves about competing at the Rio Games in Brazil, where the outbreak of the Zika virus has made some question the wisdom of traveling there.

Times wires

Sports in brief 03/07/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2016 8:58pm]
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