Maria Sharapova is a ‘cheater’ and should not play tennis again – Eugenie Bouchard

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a backhand return to Alize Cornet of France during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

“Cheat” Maria Sharapova should not have been allowed to play again, says 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Russian Sharapova beat Roberta Vinci on Wednesday at the Stuttgart Open on her return from a 15-month doping ban.

In October, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Sharapova was not an “intentional doper”.

However, Canadian Bouchard said: “She’s a cheater and I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.”

Bouchard, 23, now ranked 59th in the world, told TRT World: “I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms.

“I don’t think that’s right and she’s not someone I can say I look up to any more.

“It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it in the right way and are true.”

Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova, who was suspended in March 2016 after testing positive for meldonium, was given a wildcard for the tournament.

The 30-year-old has also received wildcards for the tournaments in Madrid and Rome and will find out if she has been given one for the French Open on 16 May – 12 days before the competition.

That decision has been defended by WTA chief Steve Simon, who said it was in keeping with how former dopers were treated in other sports.

Sharapova says she would “play in the juniors” if it meant competing in this year’s French Open and Wimbledon.

She won her first grand slam title at Wimbledon aged 17 in 2004 and won the last of her five major titles at the French Open in 2014.

The Russian does not have a world ranking after her points expired during her suspension and would need to reach the final in Stuttgart to be eligible for French Open qualifying.

Speaking to BBC Sport, former world number one Sharapova said: “If I get the opportunity to be in a draw then I will take it.

“I’m being offered wildcards from tournament directors and I’m accepting them.

“I’m coming with no ranking and I’m not getting a wildcard to receive a trophy or a golden platter. I have to get through the matches and I still have to win them.

Source: BBC

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