At least we can be reassured Maria Sharapova is unlikely to be suffering from a heart condition as she settles down to digest the news that her future in tennis looks about as promising as a racket without any strings.
If failing a drugs test for ingesting a banned drug – Meldonium, also known as Mildronate, and used to combat chest pain and heart attacks in the general public that crucially also increases blood flow in athletes – is to be Sharapova’s last telling contribution to her sport, what a tawdry affair to be etched on your tennis tombstone.
Sharapova, 29, intends to appeal the International Tennis Federation’s decision to suspend her for two years for doping at the Australian Open in January, claiming she was unaware the drug had been added to the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) banned list on January 1.
As it stands, we will not see her until the outset of 2018, with her next potential Grand Slam being the French Open at the age of 31. Assuming of course that we do hear her grunt again.
As it stands, it is not far-fetched to suggest it is all over for Sharapova as a professional at the elite level. Her reputation and the good life that accompanied her rise to the summit of her sport are already in the gutter. There is no need to apply any top spin to deduce such implications.
Sharapova used this drug for a decade, was told it was being banned yet continued to use it and did not inform the Russian team doctor,
Maria Sharapova (L) of Russia and Serena Williams of the U.S. hold their respective trophies after their women’s final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2004. Seventeen-year-old Sharapova won the match.Maria Sharapova (L) of Russia and Serena Williams of the U.S. hold their respective trophies after their women’s final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2004. Seventeen-year-old Sharapova won the match.
Maria Sharapova (L) of Russia and Serena Williams of the U.S. hold their respective trophies after their women’s final match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2004. Seventeen-year-old Sharapova won the match.
Draw your own conclusions, but have you ever visited a doctor without being asked if you are taking any medication? Or even a pharmacist posing the same question? If you have nothing to hide, why hide it?
How did all this come to pass for Maria, a figure who became the most recognisable sportswoman in the world without even the need to be her sport’s finest performer?
Anybody with more than a passing interest in tennis will recall the summery Sharapova of 2004 when the rampant and lithe Russian teenager fairly bounded onto the scene, towering over Serena Williams and a tennis world that seemed to belong to her and all that was in it.
At the age of 17 and standing 6ft 2in, she produced a performance that belied her tender years to dismantle Williams in straight sets (6-1 6-4) with some bludgeoning ground strokes to become the third youngest winner of Wimbledon behind Lottie Dod and Martina Hingis.
With the looks of a model already apparent in her formative years and the potential to make anything sellable off court – ranging from cars, sportswear and watches to mobile phones, her own range of bubble gum, water and milk – Sharapova’s world was the land of milk and honey.
Even the somewhat annoying grunt was forgiven by sponsors such as Nike, Samsung and Tag Heuer with a greater appetite for Sharapova the product rather than Maria the tennis player, who was forced to serve her way out of poverty in the Siberian town of Nyagan before being flown to Florida at the age of nine by a father who had less than $1,000 on him.
Today Sharapova is estimated to be worth £135m.
The truth of Sharapova’s succss is that the illusion always sells better than the reality. Sharapova has benefited more from her striking beauty than her beautiful ball striking.
Even if she has been a class above her fellow Russian Anna Kournikova, who only reached number eight in the world but became better known than Anna Karenina due to her looks, Sharapova has never dominated tennis. Her last, and only other, win over Serena Williams came in the same year she won Wimbledon. She has suffered 18 straight defeats in 12 years to Serena, the 21-times Grand Slam champion.
Yet prior to her fateful appearance in Melbourne in January, she had led a charmed and memorable life as one of the game’s most alluring players, and leading draws.
By the latter stages of 2005, and before she was out of her teens, Sharapova had astonishingly become the first Russian woman to attain the world number one position. She carried off the US Open in 2006, the Australian Open two years later and the career Grand Slam with her first of two French Opens in 2012.
Before she was rumbled for doing meldonium in January, she was still listed as the world’s richest sportswoman with staggering earnings of £21m snagged off the court over the past year. This was despite lifting the last of her five Grand Slam titles two years ago at the French Open.
There will be apologists who buy the protestations, but there can be no excuse for using a stimulant that had no business being anywhere near a professional athlete, one that was only taken to enhance performance on the court.
If tennis is to have a future, it must treat offenders like Sharapova without fear or favour.
It is probably wiser to listen to men like Andy Murray, who would not think of using such support to try to close the gap on Novak Djokovic.
“I think since January 1 there have been 55 different athletes who have failed tests for meldonium,” said Murray.
“I find it strange that there’s a prescription drug used for heart conditions and so many athletes competing at the top level of their sport would have that condition. That sounds a bit off to me.”
Indeed, Andy. And that was precisely the ITF’s conclusion too.
Sharapova’s conduct is an outrageous act of self-harming, but it has greater significance in trying to sell tennis as a ‘clean’ sport when one of its blue-chip brands has been up to no good on the side, whether or not she was in the know. Should we buy Sharapova’s insistence that she was unaware of what she was taking?
Parts of the ITF’s statement are as damning as they are well documented. Her management team is made to sound incompetent, and in parts, a bodybuilder juicing could put up a more coherent defence as to why she was dabbling in this stuff. She was on it six times in seven days at Wimbledon a year ago.
“In the tribunal’s view the answer is clear. Whatever the position may have been in 2006, there was in 2016 no diagnosis and no therapeutic advice supporting the continuing use of Mildronate. The manner of its use, on match days and when undertaking intensive training, is only consistent with an intention to boost her energy levels.
“It may be that she genuinely believed that Mildronate had some general beneficial effect on her health, but the manner in which the medication was taken, its concealment from the anti-doping authorities, her failure to disclose it even to her own team, and the lack of any medical justification must inevitably lead to the conclusion that she took Mildronate for the purpose of enhancing her performance.”
The blossoming spring and long hot summer of Sharapova’s gilded career seems destined to be blighted by a bleak dark winter without the luxury of a golden autumn.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova signs autographs after winning her third round match against Lauren Davis of the U.S. at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016Russia’s Maria Sharapova signs autographs after winning her third round match against Lauren Davis of the U.S. at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016
Russia’s Maria Sharapova signs autographs after winning her third round match against Lauren Davis of the U.S. at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016
As sports fans, we should remain vigilant about who we put on pedestals in sport when we can never be sure what they are really up to.
Maria Sharapova’s demise can be attributed to a selfishness to gain an artificial edge. Her story is one of rags to riches, and even with the millions banked and the largesse, back to rags. From champion to cheat. And ultimately, cheating the sport that made her.
‘If Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic hadn’t existed…’, says ATP ace
The Big 3 have dominated the last decade and a half of this sport, as well as having collected as many as 60 Grand Slam titles. Many believe that their opponents were unlucky to happen in this era, not having had the chance to win as much as they deserved.
Andy Murray has been for many years the most valid alternative to the domination of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, so much so that he hoisted himself at the top of the ATP ranking in 2016. The Scottish phenomenon boasts three Majors in his palmarés, without forgetting his triumph at the Finals five years ago.
Injuries have affected the Brit’s career in recent seasons, having brought him one step away from retirement before his lifesaving hip operation. Although he has not managed to reach the same level as in the past, the former world number 1 is back to having fun on the tennis court and can still take away some satisfaction.
In an interview given during the Antwerp tournament, Murray was asked if he was happy to play at the same time as Roger, Rafa and Nole.
Andy Murray on the Big 3
“Do I regret being born at the same time as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic? It’s a difficult question,” Murray said.
“Obviously, on the one hand, I regret it because I tell myself that I could have won a lot more if they hadn’t been there or if I had been 5 or 6 years younger. I would have had more opportunities. On the other hand, I had the opportunity to play and challenge the best players in history in the biggest tournaments.”
The Scot believes that facing such high-quality opposition in so many big matches helped him improve as a player. “I was able to face Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Roger Federer at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open and the US Open and always in the final, even at the Olympic Games,” Murray said.
“I obviously did not win all these meetings but I won a few. I feel lucky to have been able to play against them, they allowed me to improve by setting the bar so high.” Andy Murray was also asked which young players were most likely to dominate the tour in the years to come.
“For me, right now, Medvedev is best equipped to win on hard,” Murray said. “He just won the US Open, but before that his hard results were excellent. I think his game is more complete than the others, (but) on clay it’s hard to say.”
Naomi Osaka cries after question from ‘bully’ reporter in first press conference since French Open media flap
Nearly three months after her French Open media blackout prompted a firestorm and debates about media and mental health, Naomi Osaka returned to the press conference stage for the first time on Monday.
She broke down in tears.
The four-time Grand Slam champion spoke with reporters ahead of this week’s Western & Southern Open, where she has pledged any and all of her winnings from the tournament to Haiti earthquake relief.
She immediately faced questioning about her relationship with media from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty, who prefaced his question by declaring “you’re not crazy about dealing with us … yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform.” He then asked, “how do you balance the two?”
“That’s interesting,” Osaka said after asking for clarification on what Daugherty meant by “I’m not crazy about dealing with you guys.”
“… I would say the occasion, like when to do the press conference is what I feel is the most difficult.”
She then paused to gather her thoughts.
“I’m actually very interested in that point of view,” she continued after the moderator asked if she’d like to move on. “For me I feel like this is something that I can’t really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself. But ever since I was younger, I’ve had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it’s because of my background as well as how I play.
“But I would also say, I’m not really sure how to balance it too, I’m figuring it out at the same time as you are, I would say.”
As another reporter asked about tennis and her Haiti pledge (3:45 above), Osaka started to cry. She then took a break from the podium before returning to address more questions from reporters.
Osaka’s agent slams ‘bully’ reporter
After the press conference, Osaka’s agent Stuart Duguid criticized Daugherty in a statement while describing him as a “bully.”
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now,” Duguid said, per The New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg. “Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior.
“And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off court success to the media is a myth — don’t be so self-indulgent.”
Daugherty has not responded to Duguid’s criticism.
Osaka ‘proud’ of taking stance after talking with other athletes
Osaka made brief appearances at media scrums after her matches at the Tokyo Olympics. But Monday marked the first time she’s sat down for a formal press conference since criticizing the format as taxing on hers and other athletes’ mental health.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
Osaka told reporters on Monday that she was initially embarrassed at the onset of the uproar, but that she’s proud of her stance after hearing support from other athletes at the Olympics.
“I would say for me in that moment I wasn’t really proud,” Osaka said. “I felt like it was something I needed to do for myself more than anything. I felt like I holed up in my house for a couple of weeks, and I was a little bit embarrassed to go out because I didn’t know if people were looking at me in a different way than they usually did before.
“I think the biggest eye-opener was going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and say that they were really glad that I did what I did. So after all that, yeah, I’m proud of what I did, and I think it was something that needed to be done.”
As the tournament’s No. 2 seed, Osaka received a bye for the Western & Southern Open’s first round. She’ll open play in the second round against the winner of Tuesday’s match between Coco Gauff and Hsieh Su-wei.
Popular Tennis Star Nudes Leaked online – See Photos
Maria Kirilenko has reportedly become the latest celebrity to fall victim to apparent leaked nude photos scandal. Highly personal and private photographs from her mobile phone were posted on several celebrity gossip websites yesterday
Celebrities and nude photo scandals seem to go hand-in-hand. The 34-year-old tennis player’s nude photos were leaked online through hacked phone on Friday (October 22, 2021) and spread across the internet like wildfire. “The FBI is aware of the alleged hacking incident and is looking into it,” an FBI official told the press.
Nude Picture Controversy in Russian Magazine
The editor of a Russian celebrity gossip magazine defended its use of the photos, citing there was “a clear public interest in publishing the Maria Kirilenko pictures, in order for the debate around them to be fully informed.” That’s also why we, at Fulloaded, decided to publish all the nude photos. In public interest and just for the sake of information.
Note: graphic content for younger viewers
“Maria Kirilenko Nude Leaked Photos” Gallery
Five nude photos (apparently “hacked” from her phone) have surfaced and spread across the internet
The nude figures photos were probably taken by the tennis player with her phone, during a visit at the Louvre Museum in Paris earlier this month. Some of you may recognize the nude “Grand Odalisque” by French painter Ingres, the nude “Sainte Marie-Madeleine” by German artist Gregor Erhart, a Roman marble of a nude wounded Gaul, an Egyptian nude porcelain doll, and probably a picture of convalescing Spinee playing with a tennis ball (while the latter is unlikely to be linked to the nude photo scandal).
Besides being a talented tennis player, Maria Kirilenko seems to also nurture a secret passion for fine art and nude photography.
The FBI is investigating the celebrity phone and email hacking case. Meanwhile the tennis player leaked nude photos are making a sensation on the internet.