Earlier this morning, Maria Sharapova announced she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
As tends to happen when such a high-profile athlete confesses to doping, intense debate springs up around the issue. I thought I’d add in my two cents on the issue.
I must give credit to Sharapova for going out and announcing it herself. Where other athletes would hide themselves away while a WADA official announced it to the world, she has worked up the courage to throw herself into the proverbial firing line.
The drug in question, meldonium, is used to help metabolism, and Sharapova has been taking it legally since 2006. However, it was added to the WADA ban list on January 1, 2016, and a drug test Sharapova took after losing to Serena Williams on Australia Day ended up with a red light.
Sharapova didn’t know, and that’s no excuse. She should, and will, be banned from the WTA tour for at least twelve months. It’s not the end for her, though. She’s 28 at the moment, there’s plenty of time for her to play tennis afterwards.
Some may argue her reputation will be tainted forever. But remember, Shane Warne is a convicted drug cheat. He missed a World Cup because of it. He still has a god-like reputation to a lot of people.
This isn’t the end for Sharapova.