AP – Novak Djokovic has re-emphasised his strong support for longtime friend Maria Sharapova in her drug-test drama while adding that communication to players on the important subject of banned substances could be vastly improved.
Djokovic is caught between his friendship with Sharapova and his role as the world No.1.
“I do feel sorry (for) her, but it’s normal to accept that under these circumstances the player has to suffer certain consequences,” Djokovic said.
Anti-doping officials communicated through email to players before banning the substance meldonium from January 1, with Sharapova testing positive three weeks later.
“I think the communication from the governing bodies of tennis maybe should be a little bit better in terms of involvement of maybe ATP,” said the Serbian as he prepared to start at the Indian Wells Masters.
“I feel like sometimes ATP is stepping on the side because it’s (anti-doping protocol) is a matter of ITF (the international federation) and WADA.
“There should be a little bit more of involvement maybe, people, players relations side, people engaged in this communication with players.”
Five-time grand slam winner Sharapova awaits her fate after testing positive at the Australian Open for meldonium which she has been taking since 2006 on prescription from her doctor.
The Russian – the highest earner in all of women’s sport and the face of the WTA – said she somehow missed what officials said were the series of alerts sent during December.