Disgraced tennis star Maria Sharapova's lawyer has hit out at World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) chief Craig Reedie for comparing her annual salary to the budget of his committee. Reedie was holding a conference in London to request National boards and TV broadcasters to put in more money into their campaign to help clean the sport.
"For me the only satisfactory element in Madame Sharapova's case was that in one year she can earn more money than the whole of WADA's budget put together," Reedie said.
However, the Russian player's lawyer John Haggerty felt that the comments were not needed and that they were unprofessional. "Justice, whether in the eyes of WADA or a court, must be blind, including being blind to a player's earnings. Mr Reedie owes and apology to Maria and to all successful tennis players unless he wants fans to think WADA has different standards for players depending on their ranking and earnings," Haggerty said in a statement.
Wada have refuted the suggestion that Reedie was targeting a specific player, with their spokesperson Ben Nichols confirming that the comments made had no specific bearing on any anti-doping case. The 29-year-old was recently found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for an anti-doping violation after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.
Sharapova has filed an appeal against the sentence, maintaining that she did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules and will not accept the harsh two-year suspension. CAS will render a decision based on her appeal on 18 July 2016 at the latest, for now though her ban is set to run until 28 January 2018.