World anti-doping chief takes dig at Maria Sharapova; Sharapova's attorney responds
Craig Reedie made insinuations about Sharapova's earnings, and her attorney has now responded.
Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) spoke out against former tennis No. 1 Maria Sharapova, who recently received a two-year ban from the sport for her use of meldonium, a performance-enhancing drug.
The Briton took a dig at the Russian ace’s earnings, saying that the “only satisfactory element in Madame Sharapova’s case was that in one year, she can earn more money than the whole of WADA’s budget put together.”
The 5-time Grand Slam winning athlete is one of the highest-earning athletes of all-time, and in addition to her tennis earnings has had several high-profile endorsement deals in addition to a dedicated line of sweets.
In the wake of the meldonium revelations, however, Sharapova lost a number of high-profile sponsors, among them sportswear brand Nike and luxury watchmakers Tag Heuer, who both ended their associations with the tennis star.
According to the athlete, she had been taking the drug, which is used by heart patients, for over a decade, unaware that it enhanced performance.
Over 300 players have since tested positive for meldonium.
Several players have supported the ban against Sharapova, most vocally World No. 2 Andy Murray, with Rafael Nadal also avowing that the use of performance enhancers merited punishment.
Sharapova tested positive for meldonium following the 2016 Australian Open, and earlier this year revealed the result at a press conference in Los Angeles. The 29-year-old could have received a maximum 4-year ban for the drug, which was added to WADA’s list of banned substances in January 2016.
Athletes had been warned of the change via email and other communiqué in late 2015, communiqué Sharapova says she did not receive.
Following Reedie’s statements, Sharapova’s lawyer John Haggerty has responded on her behalf.
In a statement, Haggerty said “"The statement made today by the WADA president is unprofessional. Justice, whether in the eyes of WADA or a court, must be blind, including being blind to a player's earnings. Mr. Reedie owes an apology to Maria and to all successful tennis players unless he wants fans to think WADA has different standards for players depending on their ranking and earnings."