Maria Sharapova isn't the first - nor the last - to fail a drugs test in sport

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Drug abuse in sport is no secret, but shock still ensued when news emerged that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova had joined the long list of offenders. 

The 28-year-old announced earlier this week that she failed a drug test at January's Australian Open, where she was found positive for meldonium - a drug used to treat ischaemia.

Sharapova, who is currently ranked seventh in the world with 35 career titles to her name, has been taking the substance since 2006 but insists she knew it under a different name and didn't realise it was banned. 


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With revelations such as these proving so detrimental to athletes' careers and reputations, it's a wonder why they so often fall foul of the rules.

The Russian isn't the first to have tested positive, though.

Richard Gasquet, a French tennis player, was handed a provisional 12-month ban by the International Tennis Federation (ITA) in 2009 after testing positive for cocaine.

The 29-year-old explained to a tribunal that the class A substance entered his system after he kissed a woman in a Miami nightclub - a claim the tribunal accepted due to the minimal amount of cocaine found. 

Three years previously, British sprinter Christina Ohurogu missed three drug tests and was banned for a year as a result.

The Olympic gold medalist blamed her absence on a last-minute change of plan and amidst the rush "just forgot to let her whereabouts be known." She later became the first British female to win two World Championship titles in 2013. 

In what was arguably the most controversial of cases in athletics, Justin Gatlin was handed a two-year suspension in 2001 but returned after just 12 months after explaining he took the banned substance for medical purposes. 

The American was once again under the spotlight five years later, though, after testing positive for testosterone. Gatlin claimed he was the victim of sabotage but still received an eight-year ban, later reduced to four years after an appeal.

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Serena Williams
Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Australian Open
Novak Djokovic
Maria Sharapova

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