Tuesday 12 December 2017

Caroline Wozniacki: Athletes need to 'double and triple check' medication

Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has urged athletes to take all necessary precautions following Maria Sharapova’s suspension for using a banned substance.

Sharapova said last night that she has used the substance meldonium - which has been on the banned list since January 1st 2016 - since it was prescribed by a family doctor to treat persistent illness back in 2004.

The reason she continued to take it after the turn of the year was because she apparently neglected to read the updated list of prohibited substances when it was emailed around by the tennis authorities.

Speaking at a press conference in New York the Danish tennis star said athletes should be extra careful to check their medications for banned substances.

“Any time we take any medication I think we double and triple and quadruple check because sometimes even things like cough drops and nasal sprays can be on the list,” she said.

“So I think as athletes we always make sure to really make sure there is nothing in it that could put us in a bad situation.”

Porsche have joined Nike and Tag Heuer in suspending their sponsorship deal with the Russian after yesterday’s revelations.

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Former tennis player Jennifer Capriati admitted that she was left feeling “extremely angry and disappointed” with Sharapova after she failed a drug test, having tested positive for meldonium.

Sharapova now faces up to a two-year ban, though she is expected to be hit with a suspension of half that duration, but the 28-year-old Russian is already being questioned and criticised by former athletes, including leading names in tennis.

Capriati took to Twitter to vent her frustrations, having claimed that she was forced to end her career earlier than she had hoped because she “didn't have the high priced team of drs (sic) that found a way for me to cheat”.

Capriati’s tweets were part of a mass series of 44 messages that saw the 39-year-old American rage against Sharapova’s use of meldonium as well as the wider usage of banned substances in sport. Capriati called for Sharapova to have all of her titles – including her five Grand Slam victories – stripped because she has taken the drug since she was 16 years old.

Sharapova made it clear that she does not want to end her tennis career with a drug ban and signalled her intention to resume her career following any suspension, should she be allowed to return to competition.

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