Tennis star Andy Murray has blasted Maria Sharapova, saying she should be banned after her positive test for meldonium.
The world number two has also questioned Sharapova’s claim the drug was used for medical purposes and criticised racket maker Head for supporting Sharapova following her admission she’d consumed a banned substance.
Murray was outspoken on the subject when he faced reporters at the Indian Wells tournament in Palm Springs.
“It’s not up to me to decide the punishment, but if you’re taking performance enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended,” Murray said.
“If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance enhancing benefits that drug is giving you. And I don’t think that that’s right.”
Meldonium is produced in Latvia and can’t be bought in the US, where Sharapova is based.
It was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances in January, shortly before Sharapova’s positive test at the Australian Open.
The drug is designed to improve the health of people with heart problems.
Reports suggest it can also increase blood flow and improve exercise capacity.
Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles on Monday that she had been taking the drug for 10 years.
She claimed it was first given to her by a family doctor because she often fell sick and had a magnesium deficiency.
Sharapova has lost sponsorship support from TAG Heuer, but Head has extended its contract with her.
This prompted Murray to say, “I don’t really know what else to say on that … I think at this stage it’s important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in my view.
“I personally wouldn’t have responded like that”.