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Returning Sharapova slams ITF for ban
- Updated: April 15, 2017
Maria Sharapova is returning to the tennis circuit in two weeks after serving a 15-month ban after she tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium.
The Russian has criticised the International Tennis Federation for not doing enough to inform her that the substance she was using had become prohibited.
“Why didn’t someone come up to me and have a private conversation, just an official to an athlete, which would have taken care of the confidentiality problem they talked about later?” Sharapova said.
The fact of the matter is that the female athlete was using it for a while when it was suddenly moved to the prohibited drug list.
The 30-year-old was provisionally banned for 2 years which was later reduced to 15 months on appeal. She will now make her much-awaited comeback in Stuttgart.
The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) added meldonium to the list of banned substances after there were reports it enhanced blood flow and performance.
Sharapova recalled how she began using the drug as a teenager after winning the Wimbledon.
“I was getting colds and flu and it started to affect my body. So I was taken to a doctor in Moscow. He gave me about 10 supplements to take, one of which was Mildronate (trade name of meldonium).”
She did, however, admit that she had become complacent and she was ultimately responsible for her drug test. She should have taken care to inform the authorities about her use of the drug.
“Ultimately the fault was mine. But I had been getting clearance on everything I was taking for seven years and I became complacent.”
The ITF issued a statement on the matter, saying it was unaware about the extent of the use of the drug among athletes including Sharapova when it banned the substance.
Are you excited to see Maria Sharapova back on the court?