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Thursday 24 August 2017

Ban them for life: Frampton

Boxer lacks sympathy for Maria but one sponsor stands by her

Carl Frampton has expressed his view on the Maria Sharapova situation. Photo: Reuters
Carl Frampton has expressed his view on the Maria Sharapova situation. Photo: Reuters

World champion Carl Frampton has said he has no sympathy for Maria Sharapova over her drugs test failure.

Sharapova stunned the tennis world by admitting she failed a test during January's Australian Open for the banned substance meldonium, a drug which she said she had taken on medical advice for 10 years.

Sharapova accepted full responsibility for failing to read a notice sent to her in December by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which added the drug to its banned list this year because of fears that it was being used to enhance performances.

Speaking to the BBC, two-time world boxing champ Carl Frampton said he had no sympathy for Sharapova.

The Jackal said: "We need to be very stringent and strict with ourselves and to make mistakes, especially at the highest level, I don't know, I don't agree with it.

"Coming from a sport that I am in - where people can potentially lose their lives - I look at drug taking as a complete no-no.

"And if you fail a drug test - especially in my sport - you should be banned for life," the Belfast boxer said.

Some of the world's leading players have given their thoughts on Sharapova's failed test as they prepare for one of the biggest tournaments on the ATP and WTA Tours in Indian Wells.

Rafael Nadal took the opportunity to address unfounded but persistent rumours linking him to doping.

In comments reported by the BBC, the 14-time grand slam champion said: "I am a completely clean guy. I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong.

"I believe in the sport and the values of the sport. It is an example for the kids and, if I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not lying to my opponents."

Nadal accepted Sharapova made a mistake in failing to realise meldonium had been added to the banned list for 2016.

But he said she must pay the price for her negligence, adding: "It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but mistakes happen. She should be punished.

Mistake

"I want to believe it is a mistake for Maria. She didn't want to do it. But obviously it is negligence. She must pay for it."

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said: "Of course it's not great for her. It's something which we all should know, what we are taking and what we are putting into the body."

Racket firm Head has extended its contract with five-times grand slam champion Sharapova despite her failed test, CEO Johan Eliasch said yesterday.

Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer cut ties with Sharapova this week, while Nike and Porsche have distanced themselves from her. However, Eliasch said Sharapova, under contract with Head since 2011, had "earned the benefit of the doubt" after making an "honest" mistake.

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