The large doping cloud which has descended over tennis following Maria Sharapova’s failed drugs test showed no sign of shifting as the former French Sports minister Roselyne Bachelot claimed the 7 months Nadal was out with injury in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test”. These are not new allegations nor are they the first time Nadal has had to defend himself against taking drugs. Nadal currently in action at Indian Wells venomously denied the allegations and stated in a press conference that he would be suing for defamation against the French woman.
Tennis is currently at an important juncture . Maria Sharapova the games biggest star is currently banned for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open. Nadal continues to plead his innocence at such allegations and there has been allegations of match fixing. The game is not in good health. Can we actually believe what we are seeing on court.
I have read so much about Maria Sharapova and I really hope that it turns out to be carelessness rather than a premeditated doping case. Many claim she should be made an example of to dissuade other dopers from taking their illegal substances. Fellow pros like Murray, Capriati and McEnroe have shown her little compassion and believe she was more than aware with what she was doing. Perhaps she was. But having taken the substance legally for so long what athlete would not take a supplement knowing that it would benefit their performance? Sport is so much about inches, getting small advantages here and there. Meldonium is now illegal but up until this year it would have been classified as a supplement. I have no doubt all athletes take supplements to aid performance, improve recovery and concentration.
Having seen Maria Sharapova in action I was struck at how intense she is when on court, her attention to detail is like no other. So many like me find it bizaare that Sharapova would be guilty of being so careless and negligent in not checking her email. Even if it did as she states take a big effort to find what the substances were upgraded for this season it becomes hard to forgive her carelessness. My hope is that Maria having appeared contrite and extremely apologetic during her interview will be able to convince the LTA and WADA that she was taking the substance for medical reasons (TUE). If it was a genuine oversight I hope that the truth will out.
I feel sympathy with Nadal for constantly having to dodge allegations of blood doping. He seems to have been tarred with Operacion Puerto brush when the reality was there was no indication that any athletes other than cyclists were implicated. It would be terrible for tennis if either Nadal or Sharapova were found to be doping. Lets hope that for the sake of the sport that there are no big names implicated with performance enhancing drugs. Even as we enter in 2021 season we hear of a failed doping test by Dayana Yastremska. It seems as doping will always be hanging around the sport like a bad smell.