Caro­line criticises Maria’s re­turn

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Maria Shara­pova’s planned re­turn from a 15month drugs ban at Stuttgart next month is “dis­re­spect­ful” to other WTA play­ers, for­mer World N0 1 Caro­line Woz­ni­acki said on Satur­day.

The tour­na­ment will al­ready be un­der­way when five-time Grand Slam cham­pion Maria’s sus­pen­sion ends on April 26, and she’ll play her first match that day.

“I think it’s very ques­tion­able, al­low­ing — no mat­ter who it is — a player that is still banned to play a tour­na­ment that week,” Caro­line said. “I think it’s dis­re­spect­ful to the other play­ers and the WTA.”

Caro­line said she had no prob­lem with Maria, whose ban for a pos­i­tive test for mel­do­nium was re­duced by the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, re­turn­ing to the game.

But she said the Rus­sian star, whose world rank­ing has been wiped out by her ab­sence, should play her way back into tour­na­ments.

“I think ev­ery­one de­serves a sec­ond chance, and I think that she’s go­ing to come back and she’s go­ing to fight her way back,” Caro­line said.

“I’m sure she’s go­ing to play well. But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that some­one should start from the bot­tom and fight their way back, be­cause it’s dif­fer­ent from an in­jury where some­one is out be­cause they had hurt them­selves.

“When some­one has been banned for drugs and some­thing that is per­for­mance en­hanc­ing, I think that you de­serve a sec­ond chance like ev­ery­body else, peo­ple make mis­takes. But I think you should fight your way back from the bot­tom.”

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