Serena Williams, the top-ranked player in women’s tennis, said on Tuesday she was shocked to hear her fellow tennis star, Maria Sharapova; had failed a drug test, but commended Sharapova for showing courage in taking responsibility.
Sharapova, who lost to Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year, said she had been taking a drug called meldonium since 2006, a drug which only became prohibited on 1 January this year.
TENNIS.com (@Tennis) March 8, 2016
“Well, I think, like everyone else said, most people were surprised and shocked by Maria, but at the same time, I think that most people were happy that she was up front and was very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at, in terms of the list at the end of the year. Williams told reporters at a BNP Paribas briefing.
“And so, with that being said, it’s just taking the responsibility which she admitted that she was willing to do and ready to do, and I just hope for the best for everyone in that situation.
“I think in sport and in life, there’s always a double standard, always, and I think that’s something that no one is – everyone knows whether it’s a race thing or a sex thing, there’s always been a double standard that’s different.
“However, this is a different thing and I think as Maria said she’s ready to take full responsibility and I think that showed a lot of courage, a lot of heart, and I think she’s always showed courage and heart in everything that she’s done, and this is no different,” she added
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced Sharapova will be provisionally suspended beginning March 12.
Sharapova has also lost several major sponsors after admitting that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.