Tennis: Lessons must be learned from Sharapova case, says WTA head

Tue Oct 4, 2016 2:20pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Tennis must raise its game to ensure cases like Maria Sharapova's do not happen again, the chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) said on Tuesday after an arbitration hearing reduced the Russian's ban for doping.

Steve Simon told Reuters that the WTA, while not the governing body, also had a duty to give players clear and specific notifications about changes to the list of banned substances.

"Nothing positive comes from a positive drug test for anybody involved and we need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure that everybody is educated and something like this never happens again," he said.

"I think that we have to...take this experience and say we need to be better than this," he said in a telephone interview from China.

"We have to look at the reasons that CAS overturned the decision and improve upon it. I think the ITF is committed to doing that and I know the WTA is. It’s part of the process and we need to take an honest look at everything and make sure we’re doing it better."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had earlier reduced a ban imposed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) from two years to 15 months, allowing former world number one Sharapova to return on April 26.

The 29-year-old was handed the ban after a positive test for meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances at the start of the year.

Sharapova admitted taking the drug during the season's opening grand slam in Melbourne in January but said she had been unaware that it had been banned.   Continued...