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Published: 09:39 | 9/3/16

Pound: Sharapova was reckless


Maria Sharapova was 'reckless beyond description' for failing to make herself aware of the updated list of banned substances, according to former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound.

Sharapova revealed on Monday that she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January.

During a press conference, the Russian explained that she had been taking the drug legally for the past ten years to treat a medical condition, including an irregular heartbeat and a history of diabetes in her family, and was unaware that it was added to the WADA banned list on January 1.

The former world number one will be provisionally suspended from March 12 pending an independent tribunal to hear the case and could be banned for up to four years.

In light of the revelation, sponsors have started to distance themselves from the Russian with Nike and Porsche suspending their contracts, while Tag Heuer have terminated their association with her.

Given the financial and professional implications, Pound has questioned how Sharapova allowed herself to be in this situation.

"Running a $30m (£21m) business depends on you staying eligible to play tennis. You are taking something on a list, which you have known about for four months. I am sorry, that is a big mistake - of course she should have known," Pound told the BBC.

"She is taking something that is not generally permitted in her country of residence (the United States) for medical purposes, so she says, so there must be a doctor following this.

"Any time 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."

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