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Sharapova claims critics 'don't have the facts'

Maria Sharapova has dismissed the more outspoken critics of her drug suspension, saying they 'don't have the facts' and that she doesn't 'take them into consideration'.

Speaking to the BBC for a forthcoming feature, since her return to the tour, she said: "I think those are comments not based on facts, and therefore I don't take them into consideration.

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova has hit back at critics of her return. Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
"I don't think it's for them to really have an opinion, because they don't have the facts. So, you know, I think that those are the types of words that make headlines and they will be used as headlines.

"But ultimately, this is my career, and I faced it head on, and I admitted my mistake, and I went about it and I served my suspension and now I'm back."

When news of her drug suspension broke last year, just before the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, players including British No. 1 Andy Murray were very outspoken in their criticism of the five-time Slam champion.

Murray said at the time that he thought it was wrong for players to take a drug that was not required for a specific medical condition, welcoming her ban at the time.

Sharapova, 30, was also roundly criticised by Eugenie Bouchard, who labelled her a cheater and claimed she should never have been allowed back.

The Russian continued: "I don't think it's for them to really have an opinion, because they don't have the facts. So, you know, I think that those are the types of words that make headlines and they will be used as headlines.

"But ultimately, this is my career, and I faced it head on, and I admitted my mistake, and I went about it and I served my suspension and now I'm back."

She has questioned whether the drug, meldonium, should have been banned on 1 January 2016, under claims that it could have a performance-enhancing effect on athlete's stamina.

"The problem I have with that is there's no proof of what it does, and no one can give you that proof. What is the ban based on?" she said.

Sharapova reached the fourth round of the US Open, and is now World No. 103 in Monday's new rankings. If she maintains or improves her position in the rest of the season's tournaments, she will be in the main draw for next year's Australian Open.

Source: http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/20699280/maria-sharapova-hits-back-critics-including-andy-murray-drug-suspension-comeback

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