French tennis player Kristina Mladenovic has launched a scathing attack on Maria Sharapova, saying the four-time grand slam winner is just a cheater and everybody on the Tour knows it.
“All the other players are saying she’s a cheater,” Mladenovic told French newspaper Le Parisien. “You sure doubt and think that she didn’t deserve all she won until now.
“That’s dreadful, but it’s good that it’s finally out.
“As far as I am concerned if I take an aspirin I worry 10 times about what I do.
“She’s been taking this drug for 10 years and it’s a serious drug. 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 to be the best by playing with the rules.”
Sharapova tested positive to meldonium (a drug she knew by the alternative name of mildronate) during the Australian Open in January.
The former world No.1 has taken the medication over the past 10 years and claims it was used to combat flu-like symptoms and reduce the risk of diabetes, which runs in her family.
She also denied she was warned five times about meldonium being banned, a mitigating factor her lawyer John J Haggerty believes can see her escape punishment.
Sharapova took to Facebook on Saturday to defend herself against claims she had adequate warning about the implications of taking meldonium.
“In order to be aware of this warning you had to open an email with a subject line having nothing to do with anti-doping, click on a web page, enter a password, enter a username, hunt, click, hunt, click, hunt, click, scroll and read,” she wrote.
“I guess some in the media can call that a warning. I think most people would call it too hard to find.
“There was also a wallet card distributed at various tournaments at the beginning of 2016, after the ban went into effect. This document had thousands of words on it, many of them technical, in small print. Should I have studied it? Yes. But if you saw this document (attached), you would know what I mean.”
But the 22-year-old Mladenovic feels no sympathy.
“She can play with words and find a good lawyer but on the principles of the situation, she’s wrong,” Mladenovic said.
“She has no excuse that can defend what she’s done. For me there’s no doubt.
“She wasn’t really liked. I respected her for her career but she wasn’t really nice nor polite, let’s be honest.
“At least the good news to come out of all of this is that the anti-doping program is working and that even if you’re among the best players you’re going to get caught and it’s going to get out.”