Former women’s world tennis number one Maria Sharapova is serving a two-year suspension from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for using a banned substance. However, her absence at this year’s Wimbledon is not much felt as Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova directly called her “a totally unlikeable person; arrogant, conceited, and cold.”
The Wimbledon scene would not be complete if not for Sharapova, who stunned the world back in 2004 when she won the title in Grand Slam fashion. It was where she beat and upset top seed Serena Williams to become the third youngest woman to win the Wimbledon title. But when Sharapova admitted to failing her drug test in the recent Australian Open, the whole world shut their doors at her.
Three months after she admitted to testing positive for meldonium, an anti-ischemic drug usually prescribed for heart conditions, the stigma of her suspension continues to haunt the sport of tennis. To the point that Cibulkova would tell the Daily Mail that Sharapova is not missed in the tournament while Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska noted that women’s tennis will strive even without her.
“She’s a totally unlikeable person. I don’t miss her on the tour. Arrogant, conceited and cold. When I sit beside her in the locker room, she won’t even say hello,” Cibulkova said.
But for Sharapova’s former coach Nick Bollettieri, the absence of Sharapova in this year’s Wimbledon is already felt. Though some would not admit it, but Bollettieri begs to disagree, he states that Sharapova’s star power will be missed throughout the competition. The 84-year old tennis coach stressed that Sharapova brought grace, beauty, and elegance in the sport of tennis.
“Maria brought elegance and beauty,” Bollettieri told Sportsmail. “She dressed beautifully, she performed beautifully, she won this tournament at a very young age. But I think most of all she stood in with the tradition of elegance and respecting Wimbledon and all it’s given to the world. You know that when Maria played she would fight and no matter what the score was she’d give it all.”
When Sharapova admitted to failing her drug test, most of her fellow tennis players were quick to judge her and condemn her. Nobody showed support and instead wanted her past title winnings to be confiscated as well with the result of the failed drug test. Aside from condemnation from the tennis world, Sharapova also felt the consequence from failing the drug test as personal sponsors such as Nike, Tag Heuer, Porsche, and the United Nations Development Programme all terminated their relations with her. Only HEAD stood by her and stated that they will continue to have her as their endorser.
Now that she is serving the two-year suspension, Sharapova is keeping herself busy enrolling at Harvard Business School. She also has paid for the rights of her candy product “Sugarpova,” and is busy with studies and at the same time training. The Russian Tennis Federation has stated that they are expecting Sharapova to be available for the upcoming Rio Olympics in Brazil.
Sharapova seems to have prepared herself for life after tennis. Despite her right to appeal WADA’s decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Her suspension will end by Jan. 2018, but it seems Sharapova has accepted her fate and would rather focus her energy on something that she could be proud of someday.
Photo Courtesy: Valentina Alemanno/Flickr