Victoria Azarenka Says Sharapova Situation Brings Dark Cloud To Women’s Tennis

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Victoria Azarenka Tennis News

When Chris Evert last week stated the reason Maria Sharapova did not elicit widespread support from her peers on the WTA is the Californian-based Russian had never gone out of her to make friends, few can have expected the outpouring of derision towards the five times Grand Slam event champion from the likes of former world no.1 Victoria Azarenka, one-time fan Eugenie Bouchard and outright critic Kristina Mladenovic.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, has played Sharapova the most among the critical trio, narrowly trailing 8-7 in a series of matches dating back to 2007.

“There is going to be the dark cloud on the women’s game and I hope that it gets resolved,” said the Belarusian, who is known to not like Sharapova despite recently joining the same management company, IMG.

“She [Sharapova] has been such a great role model for a lot of people. So I think that’s very disappointing. I think it’s important we keep our integrity of the sport. Tennis has been one of the biggest sports with a really high reputation, and we should keep it that way.”

Eugenie Bouchard, the Canadian who stands to benefit from Nike’s decision to suspend its multimillion relationship with Sharapova, has lost all four of the pair’s WTA meetings. She said: “I was very shocked and disappointed. She [Sharapova] was an idol of mine growing up. To think of your childhood idol and wonder if it was a lie, it really affected me a lot.”

However by far the most damning comments came from Kristina Mladenovic, the world No 29 from France, who said: “You think and doubt that she didn’t deserve all she won until now. She has no excuse that can defend what she’s done. For me there’s no doubt. I respected her for her career but she wasn’t really nice nor polite.”

Mladenovic’s abhorrence to Sharapova is not a result of past matches. The pair has only played once, in the first round of Wimbledon three years ago with the Californian-based Russian winning 7-6, 6-3.

Speaking to Le Parisien newspaper, Mladenovic continued: “She has played with the rules and thought: ‘If it’s not banned then I can take it.’ For me that’s very disappointing. I don’t like the mentality of someone to be the best by playing with the rules.

“If I take an aspirin I worry ten times about what I do. She’s been taking this drug for ten years and it’s a serious drug. “Sure, she can play with words and find a good lawyer but on the principals of the situation, she’s wrong.

“At least the good news to come out of all of this is that the anti-doping program is working and so, even if you’re among the best players you’re going to get caught and it’s going to get out.”

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.