Your humble correspondent has spent most of the last week battling a very nasty flu. Thus, I was unable to be sure, when I saw the news about Maria Sharapova failing a drug test at the Australian Open, whether it was real or if I was suffering from some fever dream. Naturally, I thought there was no way it could actually be true.Embed from Getty Images
No, not because I couldn’t believe Sharapova would do anything illegal. It just seemed impossible that she could have been taking PEDs and still been as bad as she was in Melbourne.
When last we saw Sharapova, she was getting ruthlessly brained by Serena Williams in the Aussie Quarterfinals. Seriously, what’s the point of taking performance enhancing drugs if you’re going to be just as bad against your main competition as you were without the pills? She should definitely demand her money back. Then again, it seems pretty vague whether the drug in question, Meldonium, is a PED on a par with some of the other goodies in the sports pharmacopia. It wasn’t even banned until this year, so there apparently wasn’t a huge amount of concern about it. Still, Sharapova took a cavalier approach to the matter–apparently ignoring several warnings–and she got nailed for it.
Looking at the broad picture, though, the joke is in fact the reality: If the gal who is often presumed to be the second best player on the tour can’t beat Serena even with the aid of medical science, what does that bode for the competitive landscape in women’s tennis for the foreseeable future? Cause maybe all the rest of them are on something too…and they can still only beat Williams when she’s way off her game. Yikes.