Sharapova ban: Pat Cash says ITF’s two-year penalty is too lenient

first_imgSharapova plans to appeal the two-year ban handed down by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for testing positive to the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January.”I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension,” Sharapova wrote on Facebook.Cash admitted he was surprised by the stance taken by the ITF and had expected a ban of about a year due to Sharapova’s claims it was a genuine mistake.But the Australian said the lengthy ban was likely to be a consequence of the ITF concluding that the Russian tennis star knew meldonium was a performance enhancing drug before being caught out by its recent addition to the banned list.”She clearly knew and her doctor [knew] that it was performance enhancing,” Cash told ABC 702 Sydney.”She’d been taking it for a long time. It’s quite simply cheating, its a very special chemical and its very tough to get.”Cash said Sharapova could have been better advised by her management as to the change to the banned list but was informed by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) of the update.”She’s made a mistake, but my gut feeling is if you’re a professional athlete and you know you’re taking a performance-enhancing drug, which clearly she was – then two years, I think she got off pretty lightly in that respect,” he said.The 1987 Wimbledon champion wonders how much meldonium assisted Sharapova’s performance.”How much does it help her get through those hot days in Australia, those long matches in the stinking heat of New York, or wherever else it happened to be,” Cash asked.”She’s going to be able to recover much better than the other athletes. How many matches has this helped her win? It wasn’t on the banned list but it was performance-enhancing.last_img read more