Indian Wells - Andy Murray says Maria
Sharapova should face the music for testing positive for a banned drug and that
snaring the Russian sports icon sends a strong message to would be drugs
The world number two Murray applauded
doping officials on Thursday for catching one of tennis' most high-profile
"The positive thing about what has
happened to Maria is she is one of the biggest female athletes on the
planet," Murray said on Thursday at the Indian Wells tournament.
"If you take performance-enhancing
drugs and you fail a drug test then you should be suspended."
Former world number one Sharapova announced
Monday that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January.
Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium,
which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list this year.
Murray criticised everyone from Sharapova,
to the tennis federation, to his racquet sponsor Head who also sponsors
"This is happening on a regular basis
in sports. "I wouldn't say it was shocking," Murray said.
"I read that 55 athletes have failed
that test since January 1. You don't expect high level athletes in all those
sports to have heart conditions."
World number one Serena Williams said on
Thursday she doesn't want the Sharapova scandal to tarnish the image of the
"It is disappointing for all the
players involved but it doesn't reflect on the game," Williams said.
Williams said she had never heard of
Meldonium until Sharapova's case.
"I am studying medicine but I have
never heard of it. Maybe I am not studying hard enough," she said.
Murray's racquet sponsor Head said it plans
to continue to use the 28-year-old Sharapova as a spokesperson despite the
five-time Grand Slam winner's positive test.
Murray is not happy with the decision
especially after Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, US sportswear giant Nike and
German luxury carmaker Porsche suspended links with the Russian ace.
"It is not something I believe in. I
personally wouldn't respond like that," Murray said.
He said the high number of athletes testing
positive for Meldonium since January shows that many athletes are getting
phoney prescriptions for legal PEDs.
"If you take a prescription drugs that
you don't need but just because it is legal is wrong. You are just doing it for
the performance-enhancing benefits," Murray said.
Asked if he was playing against players who
are cheating he said, "I hope not, but it is impossible to say."
Murray said he was surprised that the
International Tennis Federation and the WTA Tour allowed Sharapova to make the
announcement of the positive test herself.
"I do find it strange that it was up
to the player to disclose it. It would be better if it was up to the
authorities to disclose it."
Murray said he has been drug tested just
twice in the first three months of 2016 "which is clearly not