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Sharapova - critics "don't have facts"

2017-09-14 11:25:01, Views: 13, ICS

Sharapova - critics "don't have facts"

Maria Sharapova has dismissed her critics' calls for her to be banned indefnitely from tennis because they "don't have the facts".

The former world number one was handed a 15-month suspension last year after she admitted taking the banned substance meldonium.

A number of WTA rivals have voiced comments against how quickly she was allowed to return with Eugenie Bouchard saying Sharapova should have been banned for life.

But in a BBC interview, the Russian denied cheating and said she had put the scandal behind her.

Speaking in April when Sharapova was nearing the end of her ban, Bouchard said: "She's a cheater and I don't think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play again."

But Sharapova told the BBC: "I think those are comments not based on facts, and therefore I don't take them into consideration."

Former men's world number one Andy Murray is another who has commented on the topic of doping - and meldonium in particular - saying he finds it strange that the prescription drug, used to treat a heart condition, had been commonly shared by many athletes at the top of their sport.

Sharapova said: "I don't think it's for them to really have an opinion, because they don't have the facts. 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."

Sharapova also said there was "no proof" of meldonium's performance-enhancing effects, questioning whether it should be banned, despite admitting she "made a big mistake" in continuing to take it after it was put on the banned list.

"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 added.

It's thought the drug could have a positive effect on an athlete's stamina and endurance.


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