Rafael Nadal has expressed sympathy for Maria Sharapova in light of her failed drug test at this year's Australia Open but says negligence is no excuse.
Sharapova held a press conference on Monday to announce she had been notified by the International Tennis Federation of her failed test after admitting to taking the banned substance meldonium for the past decade due to health reasons.
The Russian star insists she did not realise the drug had been added to the banned substance list as of January 1 this year and Nadal was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, though said she still deserved to be punished, saying his team would never let something similar happen to him.
"I am 100 percent confident with my team, and at the same time, I know all the things I am taking," the Spaniard told reporters during the Indian Wells media day.
"It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but everyone can make mistakes. I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria, that she didn't want to do it, but it is a result of negligence.
"But the rules are like this, and it's fair, and now she must pay for it."
Nadal admitted the news was not great for the sport.
"It's terrible news for the world of sport in general and for our sport," he continued.
"I think it's terrible because the sport must be clean and must look clean. The good news about this is that we have a good anti-doping program, [and] that the players who are not doing the right thing are going on a trial.
"I have no temptation in doing something wrong. I believe in the sport, and the value of the sport. The sport is an example for the society; it's an example for the kids.
"If I am doing something against that, then I am lying to myself, lying to my opponents.
"That would be something really bad for me. I have no temptation of doing a negative thing. I am a fair player, and I love the sport as a player, as a competitor and as a follower.
"When something negative happens in the world of sport, I am sad because the sport is an example for the society and for the kids in general."