With Maria Sharapova’s doping revelation stealing headlines in the tennis world this week, many of the top players in the game gave their thoughts on the news, both positive and negative.
Novak Djokovic: “First as a friend, somebody that knows her for a long time, of course I do feel sorry about what’s happening with her. I know that, you know, she has always been very responsible and aware towards herself, towards the sport, very disciplined, very kind of hard working, hard-working ethics, and love what she does.
“So as a friend, you know, I really hope that she will find the best possible way. I thought she was very courageous and was very human, brave of her, to go out and take the responsibility and say what has She did admit that she made a mistake with her team, and I think, you know, you don’t have to blame WADA for anything.
“But certainly if there was a mistake and if she was caught to be positive on the doping for a certain substance, then there should be certain kind of, you know, consequences for that. But, again, I’m not here to talk about, you know, whether or not she needs to be away from the courts for certain periods of time. You know, I leave this to WADA and antidoping agency and, you know, organizations that are responsible for that.”
Rafael Nadal: “It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen. But mistakes happen… She should be punished… I want to believe it is a mistake for Maria. She didn’t want to do it. But obviously it is negligence. She must pay for it.”
Andy Murray (Guardian): “It’s not up to me to decide the punishment, but if you’re taking performance-enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended… I think taking a prescription drug that you don’t necessarily need, but just because it’s legal, that’s wrong, clearly. That’s wrong. If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance-enhancing benefits that drug is giving you. And I don’t think that that’s right.”
Kei Nishikori (Desert Sun): “I was surprised and very sad to hear that she was taking something that she shouldn’t take. It’s very sad for tennis, even men’s tennis. I don’t know many details, so I can’t say much, but maybe she has to take care a little more with her team.”
Agnieszka Radwanska (Desert Sun): “It is a sad day for tennis… Nobody expected that. We are all waiting to see what they are going to do about it.”
Petra Kvitova (Desert Sun): “We should all know what we are putting into our body… It was a huge mistake and she is taking responsibility for it.”
Svetlana Kuznetsova: “First of all, I want to say that Maria is a great athlete and even this ‘strange mistake’ will not be able to outshine all of what she has achieved in tennis… And most importantly none of us, especially me, have no rights to comment on this story – not to criticize or evaluate Maria. The doping agency has to see this case not others.”
Simon Halep: “For me was a shock, a little bit, because I didn’t expect that. I don’t know many things because I don’t want to read too many things. I heard about it. I cannot comment because I don’t know what is inside. If it’s like she says, it was a mistake. So she has to handle it. The people that are doing this job has to decide what she will do.”
Serena Williams (NY Times): “I think most people were surprised and shocked by Maria but at the same time most people were happy that she was just upfront and very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at… She’s always showed courage in everything that she’s done. And this is no different.”
Caroline Wozniacki (NY Times): “Any time we take medication we double and triple check, because sometimes even things like nasal spray can be on the banned list… As athletes, we always make sure there’s nothing in it that could put us in a bad situation.”
Eugenie Bouchard: “I was very shocked and disappointed. As I said before, she was an idol of mine growing up. To think of your childhood idol and wonder if it was a lie, it really affected me a lot.”
Victoria Azarenka: “From the fans’ perspective it’s tough, because it’s — you know, she’s been such a great role model for a lot of people. So I think that’s very disappointing. But from the players, a lot of players are upset and disappointed, and I think that’s also okay. There is a lot of criticism. That’s also okay… My personal comments on the action of Maria is not going to be — I’m not going to make my opinion in press.”
John Isner: “It seems to me it was an unfortunate situation for her. You know, she admitted her mistake and, you know, it’s a tough pill to swallow for, you know, tennis in general because she’s such a huge draw and especially on the women’s side. So, you know, hopefully, you know, I would hope that she doesn’t get a four-year ban. That could be extremely detrimental. We will see what happens. Tennis is a lot better when she’s around.”
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