Maria Sharapova: Star’s confession ‘could reduce punishment’

Story highlights

Sharapova's admission "may reduce ban"

WADA wording could also help Russian's case

Anti-doping agency stands by its protocols

CNN  — 

Maria Sharapova’s admission that she failed a drug test could reduce any further punishment she receives, according to a lawyer who has represented athletes in doping cases.

In a news conference Monday in Los Angeles, Sharapova said she tested positive for meldonium, an anti-ischemic drug the Russian tennis star claimed she had used since 2006 that only became a banned substance this January.

The five-time grand slam champion – the world’s richest female athlete – didn’t read an email that revealed the 2016 drug list, she added, and that was the reason she continued to take it.

A provisional suspension begins Saturday, pending determination of the case, with first-time offender Sharapova facing a ban of four years. It likely would drop to two years or less if anti-doping officials find Sharapova didn’t intentionally take the drug to enhance performance.