Glamour girl Sharapova gets a second in tennis. Does she deserve it?

 

Glamour girl Sharapova gets a second in tennis. Does she deserve it?
Maria Sharapova won the US Open title in 2006. (AFP file)

Dubai - Sharapova was banned for 15 months after failing a drug test

By KT Sport

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Published: Mon 28 Aug 2017, 8:02 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Aug 2017, 10:07 PM

Later tonight, fan-favourite Maria Sharapova will make a return to the Grand Slams after serving a 15-month doping ban. The five-time Grand Slam champion is eagerly waiting to play her first match on the biggest stage of them all. 
The Russian's path though will not be easy at the US Open in New York as she will play world number two Simona Halep in the first round.
With her ranking now as low as 146, Sharapova, of course, would not have seen her name in the field for the last Grand Slam of the year if the organisers had not given her a wildcard. 
The French Open organisers this year decided against offering Sharapova a wild card, a move that was welcomed by many top players on the WTA Tour. "You have to work for it, you know, a little bit to go and play your tournaments and not (get) help that much sometimes," Garbine Muguruza, who won the Wimbledon title this year, said. 
"You've got to work hard and deserve it again. I think that's the way."
Halep, a fleet-footed baseliner, lost all six of her previous matches against Sharapova. But the Romanian was diplomatic when reporters asked her about the wildcard issue. 
"I'm not thinking what Maria did or what Maria does and how is the situation," Halep said. "I'm just thinking about myself. I just really want to go there and to play my best tennis."

 
Many believe dope-tainted athletes don't deserve a second chance. That there should be stronger action against such players. We all saw how Justin Gatlin was booed by the crowd when he beat Usain Bolt in the 100m final at the London World Athletics Championships recently.
Even many tennis players, including Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard, slammed the WTA for allowing Sharapova to play tennis again.
Sharapova had tested positive for meldonium last year. The Russian, who was taking the drug for several years under the rules, failed to check the updated list last year when the authorities had put it in the banned category. 
Since then Sharapova had always maintained that she never knowingly broke the doping law. The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the two-year ban to 15 months after Sharapova had appealed against the ITF ban. 
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Sharapova was not an 'intentional doper' and hence they reduced her ban to 15 months. 
Now that she has got a second chance in tennis, Sharapova will be keen to make the most of it.
Knowing her popularity, no one will be surprised if the New York crowd gets behind the 2006 US Open champion when plays Halep tonight. 
 


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