Murray on Sharapova: She doesn't have a 'valid excuse'

by: Kamakshi Tandon | June 15, 2016

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“If you're taking any medication, it's your responsibility to check and make sure that what you're taking is legal," he said. (AP)

Andy Murray's position on Maria Sharapova's anti-doping violation has not changed after details were released at her hearing.

Sharapova has been given a two-year suspension by an independent tribunal, which ruled that she did not intentionally break anti-doping rules by taking a substance she was unaware had been banned at the beginning of the season. The tribunal did find, however, that she did not take it for medical reasons and was not careful enough about monitoring its status. 

Sharapova is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to get the suspension reduced.

Murray, who criticized Sharapova following her original announcement that she tested positive for meldonium, is sticking to his original comments.

"I mean, my thoughts haven't changed, really," he said in his press conference after beating Nicolas Mahut at Queen's Club. "I do feel like if you're cheating … and gaining [an] advantage on your opponents, then you obviously have to be punished for that. You know, it's not what's fair or not in terms of time. That's up for the governing bodies—the courts and stuff, and the lawyers—to decide upon that."

He does not believe that the change in rules is something that should affect the sanction.

"To be honest, I don't really see that as being a valid excuse,” he said. “If you're taking, you know, any medication, it's your responsibility as the athlete to check and make sure that what you're taking is legal. Obviously there can be the odd case where you were given something by a doctor, [and] he tells you, ‘Oh, this is, I don't know, this is a vitamin.’ And it's not. It's something completely different.

"Then that's different ... But if you're taking medication, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't know whether it's on the banned list or not.”

In his first comments on the issue, in Indian Wells, Murray said that a player who tests positive for a performance-enhancing substance should be suspended.

"I think taking a prescription drug that you don’t necessarily need, but just because it’s legal, that’s wrong, clearly,” the Scot said. “That’s wrong. If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance-enhancing benefits that drug is giving you. And I don’t think that that’s right."

Murray will take on Aljaz Bedene in the second round of the Aegon Championships.  

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