The unsympathetic response from some sections of the women’s tennis tour to Maria Sharapova’s positive drug test didn’t surprise many.
Rumours of the Russian’s unpopularity in the locker room have swirled around the WTA for years – Sharapova herself even declaring in 2013, “I’m not really close to many players. I think just because you’re in the same sport it doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone”.
But while there might not have been a lot of sympathy for the 28-year-old in the wake of her positive test for meldonium, most pros have been reserved when asked to comment on the situation. Until now.
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Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova dropped a bomb on Sharapova in an interview with a sports magazine in her home city of Bratislava ahead of a tournament in Poland.
The 2014 Australian Open finalist left nothing in reserve in her criticism of the tennis glamour girl, saying she hasn’t been missed since being placed on provisional suspension.
“I was surprised that most of the reactions were so diplomatic, because everyone’s opinion is actually totally different,” said Cibulkova, according to a translation of the interview shared by several media outlets.
“I didn’t make any statement, as I didn’t want to be the only person to openly say what they think about this case. I will only say that I don’t feel sorry at all for Sharapova and I don’t miss her on the tour.
“She’s a totally unlikeable person. Arrogant, conceited and cold. When I sit beside her in the locker room, she won’t even say hello.”
The World No. 53’s dagger backs up recent comments from 18-time Grand Slam champion and ESPN analyst Chris Evert, who said: “Maria Sharapova has always isolated herself from the rest of the tennis world, from the players. She doesn’t have a lot of close friendships on the tour.”
A former coach of a top 10 player also anonymously told the New York Post Sharapova “definitely doesn’t seem to have any friends on tour”.