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Serena Williams has broken her silence about fellow tennis star, Maria Sharapova’s, failed drug test at the Australian Open and she was totally surprised to hear that Maria was using banned drugs. But rather than bash Maria, Serena commended her for the brave confession!
Maria Sharapova, 28, dropped a major bomb on March 7 after revealing to the world that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open back in January. Fans and fellow athletes alike quickly expressed their shock and disbelief of her announcement, but the response everyone was waiting to hear was her No. 1 tennis rival, Serena Williams, 34. While Serena could’ve taken the opportunity to shame Maria, she actually did the opposite!

“Like everyone else, most people were surprised and shocked,” Serena said in a press conference before an event at Madison Square Garden on March 8. “But most people are happy with the fact she was upfront with what she had done in terms of what she had neglected. With that being said, she’s taking responsibility, which she was ready to do.”

Serena’s words come just one day after Maria’s surprise announcement that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January 2016. And while she did play in the games, she ended up losing in the quarter finals to Serena — in fact, she has defeated Maria in their last 18 matches! Maybe that’s why Serena was so level-headed in her response!

Despite her continued victories, Serena had quite an admirable reaction for being one of Maria’s biggest opponents. But while Serena showed respect and sympathy for Maria, she also made sure to declare that her fellow tennis star doesn’t deserve any special treatment after admitting to her drug use. She also didn’t seem to think that Maria would receive any unfairly harsh treatment because she’s a female athlete.

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“In sport and in life, there’s always a double standard,” Williams added. “Everyone knows that, whether it’s a race thing or sex thing. However, this is a different thing. As Maria said, she’s ready to take responsibility. And that takes courage and heart.”

Even though Serena is clearly a tough competitor for Maria, the Russian is a five-time Grand Slam champ and currently one of tennis’ brightest stars. In fact, she has also been the highest-paid female athlete for 11 years in a row now — yes, even over Serena — according to the New York Times. So what in the world happened to make such a strong competitor fail a doping test?

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Mildronate, a heart medication also known as Meldonium, was just added to the prohibited list of drugs earlier this year, and Maria, who has been taking the medication since 2006 for health reasons, failed to stop taking it. The athlete admitted to receiving an email from from the World Anti-Doping Agency in December that noted changes to tennis’s program for 2016 and the email even included a link to a list of banned substances, BUT Maria said she did not look at it. Talk about a rookie mistake!

“I have to take full responsibility for it,” Maria said at a news conference in Los Angeles on March 7. “It’s my body, and I’m responsible for what I put into it.” Although the repercussions for her mistake have not been made clear yet, Maria has stated that this is obviously not how she wants to go out. Judging by Serena’s response, it’s not how she wants to see her fellow tennis star go out, either!

What do you think of Serena’s reaction, HollywoodLifers? Was it exactly what you expected her to say?