Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have come out to blast female compatriot Maria Sharapova for her controversial drug test failure, adding that she must be punished and banned from the sport.
Recall that Sharapova on Monday revealed she had tested positive at the Australian Open for meldonium.
Fourteen-time Grand Slam winner, Rafael Nadal, who claimed to have used stem-cell therapy in the past to quicken his recovery from injury says the 28-year old must be punished.
Nadal said: “I am a completely clean guy. I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong. I believe in the sport and the values of the sport. The sport is an example for society. It is an example for the kids and if I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not lying to my opponents.
“I have been open all my career, I never tried to hide nothing that I did. I did PRP and then I did stem cells. The first time with PRP it worked fantastic and the second time it was bad. I had to stop playing tennis for seven months. With stem cells, I used it two times on my knees and it worked very well. I am not doing, never did, and never going to do something wrong.
“It’s terrible because the sport must be clean and must look clean. 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.”
In addition, World number 2, Andy Murray says Sharapova must be responsible for her actions as she used performance enhancing drugs, the Briton also blasted her racket sponsor, HEADS, for standing by her.
“Clearly if you are taking performance-enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended,” Murray said.
“I think since 1 January there have been 55 different athletes who have failed tests for meldonium. I find it strange that there’s a prescription drug used for heart conditions and so many athletes competing at the top level of their sport would have that condition. That sounds a bit off to me.
“I think it’s a strange stance given everything that’s happened the last few days. I don’t really know what else to say on that, but that’s not something I believe. I think at this stage it’s important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in my view. I personally wouldn’t have responded like that.”
Sharapova’s said she had been taking melodium to combat a magnesium deficiency, heart problems and because of a family history of diabetes. She also claimed she was unaware the World Anti-Doping Agency had banned the drug as of 1 January.
She is to be provisionally banned from tennis, however, the extent of the ban has not yet been revealed.