Shriver accuses Sharapova of throwing ITF under the bus


Maria Sharapova has thrown the International Tennis Federation (ITF) "under the bus" with her first statement since having a doping ban reduced, according to Pam Shriver.

Five-time grand slam champion Sharapova was initially banned for two years by the ITF for using the banned substance meldonium, with her original suspension due to run until January 2018.

However, the Russian claimed that she was unaware meldonium had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list at the start of 2016 and the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her sanction to 15 months on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old consequently released a statement that read: "I have learned from this, and I hope the ITF has as well. CAS concluded that 'the Panel has determined it does not agree with many of the conclusions of the [ITF] Tribunal...'  

"Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other Federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through."

Shriver, a 1978 US Open finalist who is now a prominent TV analyst, believes Sharapova was ill advised to criticise the ITF and should have focused more on having her ban reduced.

Posting on Twitter, Shriver wrote: "Maria's 1st statement since reduced ban throws the ITF under the bus.

"Why not just be grateful about ability to return sooner and go practice!"

Sharapova is free to return to the tennis courts from April 2017.