New Delhi: Russian five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, who shocked the tennis world announcing on Monday that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January, thanked her fans for their support and wonderful words.
The Russian tennis ace faces a ban of up to four years pending an investigation by the International Tennis Federation after testing positive for meldonium, which was listed in banned substances by the WADA.
Sharapova wrote on social micro-blogging site Facebook, that she woke up Wednesday morning seeing her inbox with so much love and compassion.
"I woke up yesterday morning with an inbox, in full capacity of love and compassion," she posted on Facebook.
The 28-year-old also wrote that she is proud of her fans and was overwhelmed by their support and loyalty that brought a smile on her face.
"In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans. Within hours of my announcement, you showed me support and loyalty, which I could only expect to hear when someone would be at the top of their profession. I wanted to let you know that your wonderful words put a smile on my face.”
Sharapova, the world's highest-earning sportswoman, has accepted full responsibility for her mistake in taking a drug that has been outlawed since January 1, having previously used it on the advice of her family doctor for a decade.
The four-year ban that could be awaiting her can be reduced in various circumstances, such as if the player shows no significant fault or negligence.
Her sponsors were quick to react with US sportswear giant Nike, German luxury car maker Porsche and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer all halting their relationship with the former world number one.