US Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Natalie Coughlin expressed support for Maria Sharapova after the Russian tennis player made a public admission of a failed drug test on 7 March. Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medallist, in Los Angeles for a United States Olympic Committee media event, said she thought Sharapova did the right thing in making a public announcement.

Coughlin said: "I think her coming out and saying that, saying what happened, getting the word out herself, I think that's incredibly important, and taking responsibility I think that's really important."

"It is crazy how much can be taken away from a positive test, so it's really, really important to evaluate everything that goes into our bodies – so not only the food and beverages that we eat and drink, but every supplement, every pill and powder that you take," she added.

Sharapova, the highest-paid woman in sports, said that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open due to a substance she has been taking for 10 years for health issues. The 28-year-old, a five-time grand slam champion, will be provisionally suspended starting on 12 March, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said.

She is the seventh athlete in a month to test positive for meldonium, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium, and was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as of 1 January 2016.