Suspended Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been in the headlines following the reduction of her doping ban to 15 months instead of two years. While some female players have not been too supportive, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro have both offered kind words.
“From my opinion, I see that there was no intention in doing that (doping), because the rules changed this year, but it was an error and mistake that she and her team in a way had to take the consequences and pay for and the suspension is there rightly so,” said Djokovic in an interview shared by Lob & Smash.
The current World Number One in the men’s WTA rankings also commended Sharapova for the way she handled the scandal and how she took responsibility for her mistake. “And she, I think, was, in a way, courageous enough to come out and admit before anything was heard of this case,” added Djokovic.
Juan Martin Del Potro also weighed in on the Maria Sharapova comeback. “I think for the tennis world it is gonna be nice to see her back. Everybody’s waiting for her, I wish all the best to her,” he said.
Indeed, Sharapova is one of the biggest names in the sport and is one of the players who draws big crowds to the tournaments. Her absence has been felt throughout the tennis world since she tested positive for meldonium in the Australian Open in January.
Despite the positive words from Djokovic and Del Potro, not everyone in the sport is looking forward to the Maria Sharapova comeback. Australian star Sam Stosur had previously said that she could not believe Sharapova got away with only a 15-month ban.
She also said that her sentiments were shared by several other players and that it would be interesting to see how Sharapova will be received once she returns.
Sharapova could be back in competition as early as April 2017. This will allow her to compete in Wimbledon and the French Open next year.