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There’s only one story in sport this week: Maria Sharapova.

While we should have no tolerance of drug cheats, there are lots of questions that don’t seem to me to  answered yet. Such as:

– surely Sharapova has a team of people (dietitians, trainers) – why did none of them stop this?
– why does Wada email these changes? Who clicks on links in emails about drugs?
– why was Sharapova taking a drug that is meant to be taken for 4 to 6 weeks for 10 years?

Forget the sponsors stuff for a minute – and the irony of VW (Porsche) dropping her given their interesting history with gaming the system. This should once and for all put to rest the ridiculous idea that tennis is too skilled a sport for drugs to make a difference.

Sharapova might be the biggest fish in the women’s game, but I suspect in time even bigger names will get caught, and for more clear-cut drug use. The match-fixing scandal will look like a minor blip in comparison.


Andrew Hill in the FT: The deciding point for Sharapova could be that tennis and its backers can do without her.

Marina Hyde writes that Sharapova’s single error excuse is a suspension of disbelief too far: Maria Sharapova claims she made a huge mistake but it looks less like a misjudgment and more like a flaw that echoes other famous downfalls.

As the NYTimes points out, it is not as if tennis does not know how to march on without Maria Sharapova. She has missed extended periods of play because of major shoulder surgery and other ailments during the past nine years.

Non-Maria and worth reading

Andy Bull writes a beautiful meta-tribute to Martin Crowe: “If our friendships are the best measure of our worth, then Martin Crowe must have been a great man.”

European breakaway league: Is football about to change forever?

After 25 years of corruption, sweeping criminal charges and a financial crisis, new details show the leaders of soccer in the Americas did more damage than anyone knew.