Canadian professional and former World No. 5 Genie Bouchard has described Maria Sharapova as her idol but believes that the Russian should not be allowed back into tennis and should instead get a life ban. This statement has come almost parallel to Sharapova’s winning return to the game following a 15-month ban. Sharapova is playing the WTA tournament in Stuttgart and beat Roberta Vinci in the first round on Wednesday.
During an interview, when asked about the Russian, the Canadian said, “(Sharapova is) a cheater and I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again. It’s so unfair to the other players who do it the right way and are true. I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kinds – cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms. I don’t think that’s right. (Sharapova is) not someone I can say I look up to anymore. (The drug test) definitely ruined it for me.”
— Genie Bouchard News (@genie_news) April 26, 2017
There is little doubt that the tennis world is divided over Sharapova’s return. While some have supported, others have panned the move to have her back.
The talk will only increase if Sharapova is to play in the Majors in future. As of now, at Stuttgart, all the focus is on her and that is unlikely to change if she goes deep in the draw.