OPINION: Maria Sharapova has shamed herself and can no longer be a role model

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On Monday morning Maria Sharapova declared she was going to make an announcement later in the day.

Little did I expect that she would have failed a drugs test.

The announcement shook the world of tennis and took everyone by surprise. I for one expected her announcement to be her retirement since reoccurring trouble with her recent forearm injury, which forced her to pull out of the Indian Wells and the Australian warm up tournament in Brisbane.

Now Sharapova, one of the most prominent names in sport, has shamed herself through the biggest burdens in sport.

Since the betting scandal in tennis there has been a black cloud hanging over the sport and now the highest paid female athlete has been caught out using banned substances. How many more have there been?

Tennis, the probably once most credible sport, has brought its reputation down again.

Maria Sharapova takes full responsibility for her action after not reading the rule changes, placing meldonium from January 1st as a banned drug.

Now she has to suffer the consequences of her reckless actions. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will suspend her from the game from 12th March, however she will be able to compete in the Olympics.

For me this is a huge disappointment. Maria Sharapova has been a player I have looked up to as a role model since starting the sport at a young age, and especially when I began to compete on a bigger scale.

We are taught to play an honest game of tennis, but Sharapova can no longer be a positive role model.

As for women’s tennis, there has been so many advancements in the game to really build a brand that makes it appeal to fans just as much as the men’s game.

I believe women’s tennis is the most advanced in terms of the position of women’s sport. Sharapova’s actions hopefully won’t have damaged the image the WTA has spent so many years developing.

As for many tennis fans this will come as a huge shock and totally unexpected. She will have lost all creditability and even if she does decide to come back to the game after her ban, it will be a frosty reception from all concerned.

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