Maria Sharapova has hit back at criticism from Andy Murray regarding her doping ban, claiming the former men’s number one does not know the full details of the matter.
Five-time grand slam winner Sharapova tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and spent 15 months out of the game before returning to action in Stuttgart in April this year.
Sharapova’s return to the WTA Tour was met with a mixed response from the locker room, with Murray a high-profile critic.
Sharapova, who lost in the fourth round of the US Open in her comeback Grand Slam, has just released a book called ‘Unstoppable, My Life So Far’ which deals with her 15-month absence from the game due to a doping offence.
Bouchard famously said that Sharapova should not have been allowed to return to the sport after “cheating”, a charge which Sharapova flatly denies as she says she continued taking meldonium by mistake, unaware that it had become a banned substance before she tested positive in the 2016 Australian Open.
“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.”
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard went one step further than Murray by labelling Sharapova a “cheater” and calling for her to receive a lifetime ban, but the former world number one said the Canadian’s “comments [are] not based on facts, and therefore I don’t take them into consideration”.
Sharapova made her first grand slam appearance since the ban at the US Open, having been denied a wildcard at Roland Garros and missing Wimbledon though injury.
She reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows before defeat to Anastasija Sevastova but hopes to go further in future majors.
British number one Murray also said in March last year: “I read that 55 athletes have failed tests for that substance since 1 January. You just don’t expect high level athletes at the top of many sports to have heart conditions.”
The BBC reports that when Murray’s comments were brought up, Sharapova replied:
” 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.”
“I would love to [win more grand slams] and that’s my goal, it’s certainly up there with a lot of other things I would like to accomplish,” she said.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to win five majors and complete the career grand slam, but in my mind, I like to think I haven’t won any in order to have that hunger and motivation.
“I still have a lot more to win.”