While Maria Sharapovas fellow players were shocked by the Russians announcement that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, most of them felt the huge mistake could have been avoided.
Mens world number five Rafael Nadal pointed to Sharapovas negligence while also hoping that the Russian had made an innocent mistake. Everybody can have [make] mistakes, the Spanish left-hander said at Indian Wells. I want to believe for sure that it is a mistake for Maria, she didnt want to do it.
But it is obvious that it is negligence. The rules are like this. It is fair and now she must pay for it, he added.
Five-times grand slam champion Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, which some researchers have linked to increased athletic performance and endurance, after failing by her own admission to realise that it had been outlawed since 1 January 2016.
Sharapova, who faces a ban of up to four years pending an investigation by the International Tennis Federation, has received support by both tennis world number ones, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
I obviously wish her all the best, Djokovic told TMZ Sports. Ive known her for a long time and I feel for her for whats happening. I just hope she gets out of this stronger.
Williams said: Its just taking responsibility, which she admitted that she was willing to do and ready to do. She showed a lot of courage and a lot of heart. Shes always shown courage and heart in everything shes done, and this is no different.