Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard attacked Maria Sharapova, told her a “cheater” over her return from a drugs ban. She suggested Sharapova should be thrown out of tennis for life.
Bouchard stated the Women’s Tennis Association was sending the wrong message by allowing the five-time grand slam winner to come back from her 15-month exile.
Bouchard, the world number 59 told TRT World in Istanbul, “I don’t think that’s right. She’s a cheater and so to me, I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.”
She added, “It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true. So I just think the WTA sends the wrong message to young kids: you know, cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms. So I don’t think that’s right. She’s not someone I can say I look up to anymore because it’s definitely ruined it for me a little bit.”
Sharapova won her first match on her return beating Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix on Wednesday.
According to Forbes, she was the world’s highest-paid female athlete for more than a decade until last year.
The former No. 1 Sharapova was tested positive with banned drug meldonium. She has pleaded that she had been taking meldonium for 10 years for medical reasons and she had no idea that it had been added to the list of banned substances.
She returned on a wildcard in Stuttgart and receiving both criticism and support. It was her first match since losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Australian Open.
But the Russian’s fate in French Open is unsure. She will learn on May 16 whether she will receive a wildcard for the year’s second Grand Slam which she won in 2012 and 2014.
French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli said the announcement will be made on Facebook. “The only guarantee I gave her is to call her beforehand.”