Sharapova hits back at player comments

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova has hit back at Andy Murray’s and Eugenie Bouchard’s comments about her failed drug test, saying ‘they don’t have the facts’.

The Russian superstar served a 15 month ban for meldonium, medication that was added to the illegal substances list in January 2016 that Sharapova had been taking for nearly ten years.

Despite serving her ban, players have pulled no punches around Sharapova’s return to tennis. WTA Tour rival Eugenie Bouchard said “she is a cheater and I don’t think a cheater should be allowed to play again” in April.

Meanwhile, Murray said in March last year: “I read that 55 athletes have failed tests for that substance since 1 January. You just don’t expect high level athletes at the top of many sports to have heart conditions.”

Sharapova revealed she does not let comments such as these affect her.

“I don’t think it’s for them to really have an opinion, because they don’t have the facts,” the five-time grand slam winner told BBC Sport.

“So, you know, I think that those are the types of words that make headlines and they will be used as headlines.

“But ultimately, this is my career, and I faced it head on, and I admitted my mistake, and I went about it and I served my suspension and now I’m back.”

While Sharapova admitted she made a mistake in taking the drug, she added that there is scant proof of its performance enhancing capabilities.

“The problem I have with that is there’s no proof of what it does, and no one can give you that proof. What is the ban based on?” she continued.

Sharapova recently reached the fourth round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, her first grand slam since returning from her ban.