Genie Bouchard On Maria Sharpova’s Return From Doping Ban: ‘A Cheater’ Who ‘Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Play Again’
Eugenie Bouchard has criticized both the World Tennis Association and Maria Sharapova after the Russian tennis star, who has been serving a 15-month doping suspension, was permitted to return to play on Wednesday.
Genie Bouchard Slams WTA, Maria Sharapova After Return
Sharapova, who turned 30 on April 19, defeated Italian Roberta Vinci at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday. The Russian had originally been banned from tennis for two years after testing positive for meldonium, a drug prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency in January 2016, at the Australian Open that year.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced Sharapova’s suspension to 15 months, stating she was not an “intentional doper” but “bore some degree of fault” for trusting her agent with regards to the list of banned drugs, which the agent evidently had an erroneous version of.
Bouchard lambasted the WTA, saying it had set a terrible example to young, aspiring athletes, and called Sharapova a “cheater” who should be banned from tennis for life.
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“She’s a cheater and … I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again,” said the 23-year-old Canadian. “It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true. I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: ‘cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms’.”
The 2014 Wimbledon finalist continued: “I don’t think that’s right and (Sharapova is) definitely not someone I can say I look up to any more.”
Bouchard last fell to Slovakia’s Jana Čepelová 6-0, 6-4 at the Istanbul Open on Tuesday.
Sharapova also beat fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 6-1 in the second round at Stuttgart early Thursday, and next faces Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals Friday morning.
The Russian star will find out in May whether she will be given a wild card for the French Open.
Caption: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 20: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada plays a forehand in her second round match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during day three of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
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