Sharapova's peers stunned, but support doping system

Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:29am EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - While Maria Sharapova's fellow players were shocked by the Russian's announcement that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, most of them felt the "huge mistake" could have been avoided.

World number three Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland described it as "a very sad day for tennis" but expressed the views of many by saying it was down to every player, via their doctor, to check whether prescribed medications were legal.

Five-times grand slam champion Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, which some researchers have linked to increased athletic performance and endurance, after failing by her own admission to realize that it had been outlawed since Jan. 1.

"I don't check those emails," Radwanska told reporters on Wednesday about receiving notification of which substances and medications were on the banned list before the start of every year. "That is what my doctor is doing and my agent.

"I am scared because I know every pill can have something in it so when I am sick I am just taking aspirins 100 percent because I am always afraid that it is going to be something else. (To be safe) I had better play with the flu."

Men's world number five Rafa Nadal pointed to Sharapova's negligence while also hoping that the Russian had made an innocent mistake.

"Everybody can have mistakes," the Spanish left-hander said at Indian Wells. "I want to believe for sure that it is a mistake for Maria, she didn't want to do it.

"But it is obvious that it is negligence. The rules are like this. It is fair and now she must pay for it."   Continued...

Mar 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Maria Sharapova speaks to the media announcing a failed drug test after the Australian Open during a press conference today at The LA Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports