Andy Murray, the No. 2 men’s player in the world, says women’s No. 7 Maria Sharapova should be suspended for her failed drug test earlier this year.
Sharapova announced Monday she failed a drug test during January’s Australian Open. The Russian star tested positive for Meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances on Jan. 1.
At a press conference at Indian Wells, Murray said Sharapova should be banned.
“It’s not up to me to decide the punishment, but if you’re taking performance enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended,” Murray said.
Sharapova said she had been taking Meldonium legally for 10 years, though she was reportedly warned five times the drug would soon be banned. Murray said her use of the drug was still ethically dubious.
“I think taking a prescription drug that you don’t necessarily need, but just because it’s legal, that’s wrong, clearly,” Murray said. “If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance enhancing benefits that drug is giving you. And I don’t think that that’s right.”
After the suspension, Sharapova was dropped by numerous sponsors, including Nike. The racket company Head—which Murray also uses—said it would stand by Sharapova. Murray said he “personally wouldn’t have responded like that” in regards to the company’s support.
Murray, 28, has won two Grand Slam titles and more than $40 million in his career. The 28-year-old Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam champion.