This drug aids the heart. One drug expert, Don Catlin, doesn’t think it is a performance enhancer and the USA, normally anal about drugs, doesn’t declare it illegal. So, while the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tribunal screwed Sharapova over – sentencing her to a 2 year ban – for using it, Sharapova points out that the drug was legal for years before the rules changed and that she brought up her transgression in a press conference and was partially vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) when that body reduced her time-out to 15 months.
So the Russian born tennis star – a 5-time grand slam champion – who has been ranked number 1 – has to take this flack from 59th ranked Eugenie? Really? Bouchard should know not every issue is either/or; black or white. There’s lots of gray in life with choices, circumstances, and issues - and all are not as clear cut as they might seem at first glance.
Of course almost as bad as being too quick to judgment is the resorting to playing the victim. And Sharapova shamefully does so:
"...I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other Federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through."
For heaven’s sake get some perspective. It’s not like you ran through the gauntlet. You’re not a present-day female Christian martyr nor are you a modern heroine Joan of Arc. Maria, you are, simply, someone caught outside of recently changed tennis rules on drug taking – exacerbated by you being woefully unaware that America – the place you’ve basically lived in for years now – has its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - and they have never approved Meldonium for the U.S.
Meldonium is also known as Mildronate. The World Anti-Doping Agency banned it because it found, in their hallowed opinion, some people were abusing it.
For those, though, with traces of it, WADA deems that “a no fault finding.” Sharapova says she’s taken the drug for years because she lacks magnesium in her body and because her family history features diabetes.
Let’s leave diabetes out of this, let’s look at magnesium. A lack of it increases susceptibility to, among other things - 2 big no-nos so far as being an elite tennis player is concerned: muscle cramps, and chronic pain. To help retain magnesium drink less caffeine, drink less pop, eat fewer donuts and other junk foods full of refined sugar, and partake in no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day. That should help us, and Maria maintain healthy magnesium stores...
Maria seems to have a healthy store of ego, however. Asked to respond to Bouchard’s blast, she replied: “...I am way above that.”
Er, OK, then. Good to know.
In not rising to the bait Sharapova isn’t showing much fighting spirit. She doesn’t appear too confident in her defense of this over-the-counter-in-some-foreign-countries drug. If she feels Bouchard’s opinion is beneath contempt – she should say so. Put Eugenie in her place. Eugenie is not a big star, though she has flashes – Maria should tell her to work on her lob and leave the rhetorical grenade-attempted aces to someone of more stature – like Serena Williams, say.
Here’s what Maria should have said.
Eugenie, work on your modeling career ‘cause your tennis one is going nowhere – despite you digging in at 9 years old - and despite your family having enough bucks to send the whole lot of you to Florida so you could get lessons from Nick Saviano. You STILL have no offense or defense despite Tennis Canada’s naming you their Female Player of the Year for 4 YEARS straight...Get Vogue on the phone. Or IMG Models. Tweet the barmy “The Genie Army” of same. If you must play tennis, fix your personality and ban the brat act at the very least. Stop being a prima donna and start growing up. Realize that outside of yourself, in your own bubble, none of us is perfect. Don’t worry about following in my footsteps: you can’t fill the shoes. Tune out and amp up your Twitter account – for that’s where your fan base lies. Supporters may think you’re hot in pics but they are not athletic supporters – on the tennis court your game is colder than your personality. Or hit balls with Justin Bieber – you made a Belieber out of him in the “Desert Smash” didn’t you?
My diatribe above, aside, I sympathize with you and the concussion you suffered from slipping at the U.S Open near, or in, the locker room. I understand the area was not well lit – said to be dark, actually. I slipped up in being out of date, and being in the dark too, in not reading a missive WADA sent to athletes about this – now banned drug substance – taken by hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Europe. I’ve missed 15 months because of my faux pas and you’ve struggled to climb back to respectable elite tennis since your misfortune. Since then, you’ve been struggling with an abdominal injury and I have been wrestling with the fact that I’m not getting any younger (I muffed, missed 13 of 16 break points in my first tourney back in the semi finals at the Porsche Grand Prix.) Both of us know we have to be physically and mentally fit to have a chance at any success at this level. Perhaps we are both human, perhaps we have made mistakes - unforced errors - and perhaps both of us should support one another - instead of the likes of you issuing blanket statements detailing on a subject you clearly know less than the square root of zero about. You didn’t want to slip up and I didn’t want to screw up.
Hope you win, in your dreams, a Grand Slam one day.