Roger Federer happy to see Maria Sharapova back, thinks Russian already ‘paid the price’ for illegal drug use

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Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was banned from tennis because of illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs (PED). The veteran Russian star is set for a tennis comeback in April later this year and was awarded some wildcard spots in some tournaments. Other criticized the move but Roger Federer believes that Sharapova was already punished so it’s okay for tournament organizers to give her those spots.

Federer was asked about the Maria Sharapova controversy recently and the Swiss Maestro stated that he understands both sides of the argument. It’s unfair for other players to lose their spot but Federer also said that the current system allowed Sharapova to gain those wildcards.

Roger Federer shares thoughts on Maria Sharapova controversy

“It´s a tough one. What do you want me to tell you? Like you said, because it´s the first, it kind of is what it is. You know, some people will like it; some people won´t. She paid the price for what she did, so that´s all you can say there,” Federer said via Tennis World.

“I see the argument of players being or people being turned off by it to get wildcards, to others who believe, well, she served her time. It´s all cool now. It´s all over.”

Federer added that the WTA Tour could probably re-evaluate the current system. Especially because is the first time that this happened to a top-ranked player. The Swiss Maestro thinks this is an argument should be discussed but that he’s happy to see Sharapova back in action.

Revisiting rules on wildcard for banned players

“You could definitely revisit the rule potentially, which is to decide is it really just up to the tournaments, that one tournament director to decide if maybe Maria, or anybody now, just hypothetically speaking, deserves a wildcard or not, you know, after a ban,” Federer added.

“Or should wildcards not be part of the equation, certain level of tournaments? I´m not sure. I think it´s a good debate to have, for sure, but at the same time, you know, it´s a tricky one. I´m sure she´s happy that she´s back playing.”

Maria Sharapova was caught using Meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and was banned for 15 months. The former world number one used the illegal drug, which helps athletes’ blood flow and conditioning. Sharapova reasoned out that she had been taking the drug since 2006 due to a family history of diabetes and magnesium deficiency.

Maria Sharapova will be returning to tennis at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. The tournament is scheduled from April 24 to 30. The Russian won the Stuttgart event three times, from 2012 to 2014.

ALSO READ: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal could happen in Round of 16 in Indian Wells 2017

Photo courtesy: Misty/Wikimedia Commons

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