Tennis: Serena Williams says Sharapova showed courage in taking responsibility

Maria Sharapova of Russia stretches to hit a return to Serena Williams of the US during their women's singles final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne in this Jan 31, 2015 file photo
Maria Sharapova of Russia stretches to hit a return to Serena Williams of the US during their women's singles final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne in this Jan 31, 2015 file photoPHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Serena Williams, the top-ranked player in women's tennis, said on Tuesday (March 8) she was shocked to hear her friend and fellow tennis star Maria Sharapova had failed a drug test, but she commended the Russian for showing courage in taking responsibility.

"As Maria said, she's ready to take full responsibility and I think that showed a lot of courage and a lot of heart," Williams told reporters at a briefing ahead of a match she will play on Tuesday night in New York.

Sharapova said on Monday that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open due to a substance she was taking for health issues.

 
 

The 28-year-old Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion and the highest-paid woman in sports, will be provisionally suspended starting March 12, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said.