Monday 5 December 2016

'Taking a drug you don't necessarily need because it's legal is wrong' - Andy Murray on Sharapova ban

Published 10/03/2016 | 21:39

Andy Murray has questioned Maria Sharapova's explanation for her failed drugs test and and insisted he has no sympathy with the Russian tennis star as she faces up to a lengthy ban from the game.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic and his female counterpart Serena Williams expressed some sympathy with Sharapova after her claims that had made a mistake by continuing to take the supplement meldonium at the Australian Open at the start of this year, despite the drug being added to the banned list on January 1st 2016.

Sharapova claims she was taking the drug for medical reasons for the last ten years, but that version of events has been questioned in recent days as it has been revealed that meldonium can be performance enhancing.

Former Wimbledon champion Murray has long been a vocal campaigner for increased bans and more drug testing in tennis and the Scot has offered these forthright views on Sharapova’s fall from grace.

“It’s not up to me to decide the punishment, but if you’re taking performance enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended,” stated Murray, as he spoke to the media at the Indian Wells Masters event.

“I think taking a prescription drug that you don’t necessarily need, but just because it’s legal, that’s wrong, clearly. That’s wrong.

“If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance enhancing benefits that drug is giving you. And I don’t think that that’s right."

Murray also questioned Sharapova’s suggestion that she had not been informed by her team about the changes to the banned drug list, as he claimed the athlete has to take the blame for any failed test.

“Some people put a lot of trust in the team around them so it’s hard to say what’s the right thing for everyone, but it’s almost kind of part of her job to know everything that’s going into her body and not just rely on what a doctor is saying or a physio is saying,” he stated.

“You check yourself to make sure, double check to make sure, that anything that’s going into your body is safe.”

Murray went on to question the stance of his own racquet manufacturer Head, who have opted to extend their contract with Sharapova despite her imminent suspension from the sport.

“I think it’s a strange stance given everything that’s happened the last few days,” he said. “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.”

Murray went on to reaffirm his stance that tennis could do more to tackle drug taking in the sport, as he offered up these views:

“I think all sports can do more,” he added. “It’s better than it was a few years ago, last year I got tested a lot but this year I’ve been tested twice so far this year, three months into the year, which is clearly not enough.”

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