Serena lauds Sharapova's 'courage'

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March 09, 2016
Serena Williams responding to reporters at a news conference in New York yesterday.

NEW YORK (AP) Serena Williams says Maria Sharapova "showed a lot of courage" in taking responsibility for her failed drug test.

On Monday, the Russian star revealed she tested positive the day she lost to Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January. At a news conference yesterday to promote an exhibition at Madison Square Garden, Williams didn't want to talk about the fact she had faced an opponent with a banned substance in her system.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion said that like the rest of the sports world, she was "surprised and shocked" to hear the news about Sharapova.

"I think most people were happy she was upfront and very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at in terms of the list at the end of the year," Williams said.

Sharapova announced she tested positive for meldonium, a blood flow-promoting drug she said she had been taking for 10 years for various health issues. Meldonium was banned because it aids oxygen uptake and endurance, and players were notified of the changes in the WADA banned substances list in December. Sharapova claimed she simply neglected to click on the link.

She could face a long ban from the International Tennis Federation, possibly ending her season and preventing her from competing at the Olympics.

"It's just taking responsibility, which she admitted that she was willing to do and ready to do," Williams said. "Just hope for the best for everybody in that situation."

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