Kristina Mladenovic’s outburst about Maria Sharapova being a ‘cheater’ has exposed the discord within the WTA circuit. Despite the investigation still continuing and there being no proof, as yet, about whether the Russian had used Meldonium to boost her performances; for many – rather most – of her fellow competitors, the writing’s on the proverbial wall.
Sharapova’s attitude of keeping herself distant from her peers is majorly being seen as a factor influencing this outlook. But while it’s far from being a good trait, her attitudinal peculiarity isn’t really a justification to condemn, and to bandy against her.
Barring Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, there’s not been any support coming in for the beleaguered player even as some of the equally prominent names – read Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – have asked for her to be punished as stringently as possible.
This wave of reactions, sadly though, should have been the other way round. It’s here that an interesting – and somewhat similar – analogy can be made with cricket, rather with an infamous-turned-new-leaf cricketer: Mohammad Amir.
For those outside the scope of the cricketing realm, and outside of the sub-continent, Amir is a 23-year old Pakistani bowler, who was banned from all cricketing forms back in 2011 after being found guilty of spot-fixing.
Amir’s ban was revoked in 2015 and after being cleared to play internationally, he marked his return into the international cricketing fold from January this year.
Before correlating the two circumstances across two different and completely unrelated sports, it however has to be emphasised that there’s no similarity between the Pakistani bowler’s actions and those of Sharapova’s.
While Amir admitted to his involvement, and was punished suitably with a five-year ban, as reiterated above, Sharapova’s wilful usage of the now-banned drug hasn’t been admitted by her, let alone been proved. But what necessitates this unorthodox comparison between the two scenarios is the difference in the way Amir’s rivals reacted towards his comeback and how Sharapova’s being treated just for her admission regarding her failed drug test.
Though there were critics and sceptics, including many of Amir’s professional compatriots, who didn’t want to play alongside him, at large however there was acceptance that he be given a second chance to make reparations.
A second chance that, if one does follow cricket, one would know he’s made use of amply. In her press conference, Maria Sharapova had spoken about potentially receiving a second chance to try and make up for her inadvertence.
By the looks of it, this second chance far from being extended is barely being considered by her fellow professionals. There’s a time and place for everything, the phrase goes. And this is definitely not the time to try and act over-smart, engage in pettiness about whose characteristic merits what kind of reciprocation.
Sharapova’s reticence may never have been appreciated by her rivals, but right now she certainly could do with more rallying in her corner with belief being placed on her as her fiercest nemesis – both on and off the court – publicly chose to do.
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