Despite serious attempts to regain past glory, Maria Sharapova never recovered after the doping debacle. She tried hard to cover up the doping misdeed by going on the attack, whereas she should have apologized. And, even now, Maria Sharapova explains without apologizing again.
She could not make a successful comeback even after numerous wildcards into elite WTA tournaments. Without the PED of her choice, Meldonium, running through her veins, she was merely a shadow of her towering past on the court. Neither respected nor feared by her opponents. And, her tell all book did not help salvage her image.
She’s back again to tell the world how amazing she is, and why she doesn’t care about what the others think of her. Maybe some will fall for it this time, and buy the sugar-laced Sugarpova candies for the aspiring tennis pros in their families. It’s all about business and, in business, the image is everything.
It is all about Sharapova and her heartbreak
In a Movistar+ documentary, Sharapova has opened up about the heartbreaking toll the doping ban took on her life and well being. And, we thought Maria came clean and opened in her tell-all book “Unstoppable: My life so far”!
To Maria, it is always about Maria Sharapova. What about the players made to dust by the superwoman on dope? Robbed of titles and trophies because of Maria’s doping? When will it ever be about them? Does she realize the heartache and end of livelihood caused to the struggling, low ranked players ousted by her in the first and second rounds of events. Many way more talented, but lacking confidence and belief in the early stages of their careers. Only if they knew that the highly focused, superwoman they faced was actually the HULK in Maria’s garb.
Maria and the PED use go a long way back
We remember the focused Maria ripping covers off the ball. That Maria sported a menacing demeanor and laser like focus to demolish the best. Now we know, however, the energized focus, back then, was because of Meldonium. Sharapova, by her own confession, began juicing up on Meldonium in 2006. But, her lack of focus and form in the post Meldonium phase suggests, she was probably on the PED prior to her first slam win in 2004. She even beat Justine Henin, the Serena slayer, in a slam final! And, Maria’s one dimensional, hit the ball hard, game doesn’t hold a candle to Justine’s all-court versatile genius.
Defending the indefensible through PR
The Sharapova PR machine is still busy propping up the despicable cheater. Sharapova’s image, after all, affects Sugarpova sales, and the image, therefore, must be salvaged. Olga Morozova, an acclaimed coach and the former world number 7, is defending the indefensible nowadays. And, Tennis United serves as the perfect platform to justify deceit and lies.
“She was holding the Russian flag at the Olympics. That’s how important she is to Russian sport’. Morozova, in the latest episode of Tennis United, explained to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. ‘My opinion is that she did so much herself that it’s actually impossible to describe. I admire every step of her life. I read her book, and of course, I knew how much effort she put into her game”.
Maria Sharapova, we believe, is a fitting mascot for Russian sport, in light of the systemic doping recently.
Sharapova consumed Meldonium to gain an unfair advantage over others
Meldonium was not banned, until 2016, in tennis. Sharapova, like many in the Russian Olympics contingent, was consuming the substance to gain an unfair advantage over the others, and she did it for about ten years.
The facts of the matter, quoted from The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/08/meldonium-maria-sharapova-failed-drugs-test), detailed below, seem to suggest that Meldonium was used as a performance-enhancing drug (PED) by Sharapova:
“Meldonium is also known as Mildronate and is manufactured in Latvia and only distributed in Baltic countries and Russia. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and is not authorized in the rest of Europe. Sharapova, however, had been living in the US while taking this drug regularly since 2006! Meldonium increases blood flow, which improves exercise capacity in athletes. World Anti Doping Authority (Wada) found “evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance” by virtue of carrying more oxygen to muscle tissue. The decision to add Meldonium to the banned list was approved on 16 September 2015, and it came into effect on 1 January 2016. Wada had spent the previous year monitoring the drug before adding it to the banned list. The drug was name-checked in the latest investigative documentary on Russian doping reforms by the German Hajo Seppelt. The documentary referred to a 2015 study in which 17% of Russian athletes (724 of 4,316) tested were found to have Meldonium in their system. A global study found 2.2% of athletes had it in their system. L’Equipe reported that the scientific advisor to the French Agency Against Doping (AFLD), Professor Xavier Bigard, said in interviews with athletes at last year’s European Games in Baku that a wide proportion of athletes admitted taking Meldonium.”
Maria Sharapova insisted she consumed Meldonium, for about ten years, to treat a heart condition. Meldonium’s Latvian manufacturers said that the drug is prescribed only for four to six weeks. Even the WADA president questioned Maria’s use of Meldonium as a healthy teenager.
Andy Murray’s take on Medonium consumption by athletes
Andy Murray believes that Meldonium was being used strictly for performance enhancement purposes by athletes and sportspersons. “I think since January 1 there have been 55 athletes who have failed tests for Meldonium. I find it strange that there’s a prescription drug used for heart conditions and so many athletes competing at the top level of their sport would have that condition. That sounds a bit off to me.”
Murray was unequivocally critical about the use of prescription drugs, whether banned or not, for their performance enhancing benefits. “If you’re taking a prescription drug, and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, you don’t need it, you’re just using it for the performance-enhancing benefits of that drug is giving you, then that is wrong, clearly,” he said.
Enough with Maria Sharapova explaining without apologizing again.
Something about Sharapova compels the entire WTA machinery to support her. Is the WTA completely amiss other role models and heroes? Instead of condemning Sharapova, they supported distribution of wildcards, upon return from the doping ban, to her.
The wildcards could not salvage her career as a tennis pro, and the PR gimmicks too will fail to redeem her image. Only the truth can set her free. She must come out with an unequivocal apology for doping, on purpose, to gain an unfair advantage over the others. There’s no other way to set the karma right. She may not care about what others think of her, but karma certainly does. And, no one, not even Maria, can escape karma.