I hope that by now you’ve read the full report on Maria Sharapova‘s failed drug test. It’s a damning document and well worth the time it takes to read. If you haven’t read it there’s no need to read this post because you’re either an intern working for Max Eisenbud, a hopeless stan of Ms Sharapova, or a tennis “journalist”. I feel sorry for some in the later category because they have to curry access to the players and their entourages. To tell the truth about what the report revealed could cost them and make it difficult for them to do their job. I said some, not all. Some are willfully deceived and continue to try and deceive tennis fans.
I say that because the entire defense that’s been mounted in Sharapova’s defense since the report was released assumes that fans have not taken the time to read the report. That is the only explanation as to why they’re continuing to push the meme that she had a serious heart condition that required meldonium although nothing was presented to the tribunal to show that that is the case. We do know that the prescribing Russian doctor had her taking up to 30 pills at one point and that when she and her father stopped doing business with him she kept taking three of them in secret, one of which was meldonium. We know that on match days she gobbled down meldonium, told no one, and even when the drug was legal did not declare that she’d taken the medication. For the argument to stand that she needed the medication it would’ve helped if she’d told her coaches and outside medical personnel that she was using this drug. Instead it remained a secret between her and her father, Yuri Sharapov, who stopped coaching his daughter in 2008. There was one other person who allegedly knew, Dr Sergei Yasnitsky, the national team doctor,who is now, according to former player Yevgeny Kafelnikov, denying that he knew about her use of meldonium.
The only other outsider alleged to have known is her agent Max Eisenbud. His explanation of how he reviewed the annual WADA list is so absurd no one, not even stans, believe it. I don’t want to speculate on why he was allowed to go before the tribunal since I obviously have no inside information on what the decision making by the Sharapova legal team was. I can say that his testimony was the only comic relief in the entire report.
It’s been two days since the report was released and as I type this I haven’t seen any tennis journalist floating new reasons as to why Sharapova doped and hid it from everyone who would’ve been able to advise her to stop taking meldonium in 2014 when it went on the WADA watch list. I did see someone post an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article putting forth her lawyer’s point of view but that was not posted on Twitter by a journalist who covers tennis.
The facts around the report haven’t changed. Dismissing Eisenbud’s efforts on his client’s behalf the only two people who knew what was going on from 2006 were Maria Sharapova and her father Yuri Sharapov.
Ms Sharapova plans to appeal, a pro forma move in these cases. To this non legal mind the report lays out the case for a four year ban. WADA has extended the length of bans in the past. As the Daily Mail (of all outlets) said in it’s piece Sharapova has to appeal in order to try and salvage what’s left of her reputation. The AELTC is already looking to drop her as a member of the Wimbledon Club based on the ITF report. Sharapova is finding out what’s done in the dark will come to light. It was her and her father’s secret, one they thought would never be revealed. It’s precisely because it was their secret that she has been banned from playing tennis. As the report concluded “She is the sole author of her own misfortune.”