Running a $30 million business depends on you staying eligible to play tennis, said Pound.
Montreal: Maria Sharapova failing an Australian Open doping test for a substance banned only weeks before was “reckless beyond description,” former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound told the BBC.
The 28-year-old Russian, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion, revealed on Monday she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in January and several sponsors have already cut ties with her.
“Running a $30 million business depends on you staying eligible to play tennis,” said Pound, the Wada boss from 1999 through 2007. “You are taking something on a list. I am sorry. That is a big mistake. Of course she should have known.”
Sharapova said she received an e-mail with a link to the revised list of banned substances but never clicked on it to learn the drug she had taken since 2006 had been put on the banned list, Wada having seen it used as an improper energy and stamina helper.
Meldonium is not approved for use in the US. “She is taking something that is not generally permitted in her country of residence for medical purposes, so she says, so there must be a doctor following this,” Pound said.
“Anytime there is a change to the list, notice is given on 30 September prior to the change. You have October, November, December to get off what you are doing.
“All the tennis players were given notification of it and she has a medical team somewhere. That is reckless beyond description.” Meanwhile in Moscow, Russia’s athletics federation, facing exclusion from the Rio Olympics over previous doping scandals, said it had repeatedly warned athletes and coaches not to take meldonium. Since former world number one Sharapova admitted using meldonium, Russian sports officials have said a number of other competitors have taken the substance, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium, and more names could emerge.